Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Campaign of Nations

Leipzig, this is the big one ...
I have started the blog and process for the 1813 campaign plan that has been percolating in the background for some time.

You will find the blog at:


In the blog I have the Order of Battle for all the principle armies and have set out their Troop Strengths as will be used in GURPS Mass Combat as a relative strength comparison tool, as well as the combat system to 'abstract' those battles that we do not have proxy tabletop players to run the battle for.

To date I have three local (Courtenay, BC) area players, one more in Canada, one in USA, one in Spain, one in United Kingdom and three in Australia.  The playtest is still planned for starting in mid November and there is still plenty of room for any tabletops or players to join in.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Napoleon's Star in decline ...

Bonaparte had lost the edge
Some commentators believe that this momentous decision represents the critical turning point in Napoleon's career.  His original plan of driving off Kutusov and heading for Kaluga and Smolensk was undoubtedly the best he could have pursued under teh circumstances, but to abandon the movement so precipitately resulted in throwing away every advantage earned during the preceding six days.  At the very least he might have opted for the alternative route through Medyn which lay invitingly open before him; but to revert to the original axis of advance, surrendering all initiative, was to court disaster.  Not only did the decision remove all pressure from Kutusov and throw away the hard won fruits of Maloyaroslavets, it also wasted a precious week of comparatively fine weather.  In the opinion of General Wilson, an English observer of the campaign: "Napoleon's star no longer guided his course, for after the [Russian] rear guard had retired, had any, even the smallest reconnaissance, advanced to the brow of teh hill over the ravine -- had the slightest demonstration of a continued offensive movement been made -- Napoleon would have obtained a free passage for his army on the Kaluga or Medinj road, through fertile and rich country to the Dnieper; for Kutusov, resolved on falling back behind the Oka, had actually issued the orders 'to retire there in case of the enemy's approach to his new position.'"  Thus after winning a small tactical advantage, Napoleon in effect conceded a huge strategical victory to Kutusov who had no wish to fight a further action.

The Emperor's powers of discernment and intuition were far from their peak at this time.  After a slow and cautious approach, he had won an indecisive battle, only thereafter to select the worst possible route for his army's further march when a better lay open before him.  A combination of this uncustomary slowness, irresolution and excessive caution, was dooming his army to gradual extinction as surely as a major defeat in the field.

~ D. Chandler, The Campaigns of Napoleon, p. 822-823

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Momentous Decision

No longer confident Napoleon
Whether this disturbing though trivial affair [Cossack charge nearly reaching Napoleon's person] influenced the Emperor's decision, we do not know *, but after holding a discordant council of war with his senior officers, he ordered the planned march toard Kaluga to be discontinued forthwith.  Instead the Grand Armee was to retrace its steps to Oshigovo and then march for Mojaisk -- thus returning to the route used to reach Moscow a month before.

* From this day on, Napoleon habitually carried a bag containing a lethal poison on a string around his neck.  The prospect of captivity continually haunted him.

~ D. Chandler, The Campaigns of Napoleon, p.822

Tip of the Spear

Cossacks Charge!
Early the next day (the 25th), the Emperor carried out a personal reconnaissance of the south bank [of the Lusha River in Maloyaroslavets].  This proved quite and exciting occasion.  Sergeant Bourgogne of the Imperial Guard was an eyewitness of an incident which almost resulted in Napoleon being taken prisoner.  As he rode forward with his staff, escorted by the usual two squadrons of Chasseurs of the Guard, a formation of Cossacks suddenly appeared from a nearby wood and charged straight for him.  General Rapp and the escort only just succeeded in driving the enemy off, and one Cossack fought his way to within twenty yards of the Emperor.  Bourgogne was a member of a Guard formation rushed up to the rescue.  "As we came onto the plain, we saw the Emperor almost in the midst of the Cossacks, surrounded by generals and staff officers.  One of the latter was wounded through a singular mischance.  At the instant when the cavalry entered the plain, several officers were forced to draw their sabres to protect themselves and the Emperor, who was in their midst and might have been taken.  One of the staff officers, however, after killing a Cossack and wounding several more, lost his hat, and then dropped his sabre.  Finding himself weaponless, he rushed at a Cossack and snatched away his lance and began to defend himself with it.  At that very moment he was spotted by a Horse Grenadier of the Guard, who, mistaking him for a Cossack, because of his green cloak and lance, rode him down and passed his sabre through his body."  We learn later from Marbot, however, that the unfortunate staff officer survived his wound and in due course regained France in safety -- which is more than can be said for a great many more who participated in this skirmish.

~ D. Chandler, The Campaigns of Napoleon, p. 822

Monday, October 22, 2012

Retreat Progress

a rainy start to the retreat
The retreat began on the 120th day of the campaign.  At first everything went reasonably well, although the rate of movement was seriously  hampered by the impedimenta, and the army took five days to cover the first sixty miles.  After two days of heavy rain, the weather turned fine, but the nights were already cold.  There was, at first, few signs of Russian activity.  Kutusov was aware of Napoleon's move the day it started, his vastly superior cavalry bringing him plenty of intelligence; but the Russian general appeared to be in the grip of complete lethargy.  As we have seen no effort was made of follow up after Vinkovo; now, on the 19th, no immediate attempt was made to block Napoleon's road.  Olnly on the 22nd did Doctorov's corps leave Tarutino, marching to shadow Napoleon's main column and then slipping ahead in an attempt to seize the important road junction of Maloyaroslavets before Eugene's IVth Corps (at the head of Napoleon's main column) could occupy it.

~ D. Chandler, The Campaigns of Napoleon, p.820

Friday, October 19, 2012

Exit Moscow

French depart Moscow after 35 days
News of the day's fighting galvanized Napoleon into activity.  believing that 10,000 fresh cavalry had recently joined Kutusov from Wallachia, he felt that not a moment was to be lost in getting his army onto the road.  He was also determined to avenge Murat's defeat and to make it clear that the army's impending retreat was not caused by Kutusov's minor success.Accordingly, he brought forward the movement order by twenty-four hours, and early on the morning of the 19th Napoleon and his staff passed through the gates of Moscow after a stay of thirty-five days, at the head of 95,000 men, 500 cannon, and, according to Marbot, as many as 40,000 wagons and other conveyances (even wheelbarrows) piled high with loot, supplies, large numbers of wounded and camp followers.  "A few Russian girls, voluntary captives, aslo followed," recorded de Segur.  "It looked like a caravan, a wandering nation, or rather one of those armies of antiquity returning with slaves and spoil after a great devastation."

~ D. Chandler, The Campaigns of Napoleon, p. 819-820

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Kutuzov's challenge

Then, as often occurs in war, the unexpected happened.  The same day that Napoleon decided to retreat, Kutusov took it into his head to advance and attack the nearest formations of Murat's somnolescent cavalry reserve.  The King of Naples had never anticipated that the "friendly" Russians to his front would brek the unofficial armistice, and so he and his lieutenants were taken completely by surprise.  General Sebastiani, now commanding teh Second Corps of the reserve cavalry, who "spent his days in slippers, reading Italian poetry," according to one critic, bore the brunt of the attack near Vinkovo and received a sharp defeat at the hands of Denisov's cavalry, losing six guns.  Meanwhile Baggvout's infantry advanced to attack Murat's center, separated by some two miles from Sebastiani.  Kutusov evidently hoped to encircle the King of Naples' entire command.  "The enemy infantry then set out to seize a defile in the King of Naples' rear," Napoleon wrote to his Foreign Minister, Maret.  "The King [Murat] however, fell on this infantry at the head of his carabineers and cuirassiers, and scattered them."  by the end of the 18th, Murat had successfully fought his way out of danger, falling back on  Voronovo, but the day's events had been a decided scare.  With a little more drive and commitment of his reserves, Kutusov might have pulled off a considerable victory; under the circumstances , however, the Russians made no attempt to follow up their limited success, but contented themselves with concentrating in the vicinity of Tarutino where a fortified camp was being prepared.
~ D. Chandler, The Campaigns of Napoleon, p. 819

Maloyaroslavets - Dak-Kon Convention Game

For the Dak-Kon convention this year, I had decided to run a Fast Play Grand Armee game of Maloyaroslavets.

iPad photo from Eric - my opponent in this game where I commanded the Italian/French forces
I had the task of also being a presenter and co-host of the event, which had role-playing, card game and other board game activities going on at the same time.

The game was ready to start on time, there was only me as the player though.  I thank my middle son, Victor, for getting things going in coming forward to handle the miniatures for the Russians.

He wasted no time in driving hard at the important center village of Maloyaroslavets - pushing out 1/2 of the Italians in there.

Here we see Maloyaroslavets village, 1/2 taken by Russians, the top of the hill still held by Gilleminot and his Italians
By turn 3, the Russians had formed a solid line facing off the town and had driven off one light battery formation.

overview of the situation in Turn 3
closer view of the Russian lines
Russian assault gets into Maloyaroslavets
Russian far left, the Cossacks had driven off the French light batteries, now the Cossacks were to have to hold back ... something that Platov is not well known for!
 Italian cavalry had become halted on the south side of the one bridge over the Lusha river causing some 'back up' of the traffic flow ... a thing that could undo the whole French/Italian position!

The light cavalry arrived, getting in each others way in the process
Turn 4 was a short 2 pulse turn, that I did not get any pictures from, it was a critical time for the Russians, as they did not roll very many command dice, so they ended up having one division stuck in a hold on the critical access road.  I really like this scenario for the requirement of BOTH SIDES to have to use up their command functions to keep troops moving with the potential for bad things to happen from a lack of movement!  This is a part of what I call important to good generalship, seeing where the important action is in the moment and dealing with it as best you can.  Sadly it was beyond Victor to keep on top of, and ultimately he did not have the CD's to spare!

Through turn 4 and early turn 5 the French were sending out the light cavalry into their left wing, to go along the far side of the Russian right.  It was during turn 4 that a new adult player, Eric, came onto the scene and took on the command functions for the Russians to 'help' Victor.  It was his choice to redeploy Platov and his Cossacks to cover the left wing.  He could also see that at least one division of French were moving on the far side of the hill to flank him on the other side.  The end of turn 4 was also the arrival of Kutuzov and the three massive heavy reserve position artillery batteries.

Unable to contain himself, Platov charged into the Chasseurs of Ornano, only this time the Chasseurs were set for the charge!

the wild Platov strikes at the Chasseurs
The Cossacks of Platov were not prepared for the engagement
Turn 5 was to be a three pulse turn, neither of the commanders had enough CD's to keep on top of their troops.  This turn was also to be the one where my elbow would catch on the top of my church steeple and send the model tumbling over breaking off the steeple (look closely at the church in later images and you will see either no steeple or the broken sections of it).

Overview of the field from the Russian side (backed up troops that have not yet arrived can be seen in the foreground)
Overview from Russian left
One of the problems the Russians had, beyond the interrupt in troop arrivals, was a retreat by the leading brigades that blocked off the forward artillery then the division got a 'hold' order without enough command dice (CD's) to make it change.  This would prove to be fatal to the Russian cause in this game as they could not act while French artillery were able to get into position.

Kutuzov assembles a grand battery on the far south of the battlefield, while (seen in the top left corner) brigades are blocking the forward artillery
French Divisions were seen moving from the Russian left flank
The blocked Russian batteries were unable to fire on the opposing French/Italians
Platov's Cossacks were to be thrown into the fight again on the Russian right, to only the result of slowing down - just barely the Chasseurs, there were Cheveauxleger coming up also ... so the Russian right was going to have to be re-positioned.

Cossacks were used to slow down the French on the Russian right
Turn 6 was to be another 3 pulse turn.  Now the Russians were having to re-position, they had been unable to break into the other half of Maloyaroslavets, now with light cavalry on their right and French divisions coming on the left, the whole line of the battlefield was totally in action.  Certainly the first time since a game of Austerlitz I have ever seen this much action all across the whole line of battle.

Russian right flank formed up to receive the onrushing French
Now the Russian guns were able to fire, they were faced by equal French batteries, coming off the worse in the exchange
Russian left, now a division of infantry had formed up to block the French light cavalry
It was during the decisions of turn 6 that caused the Russian commander to commit his final infantry Division, Kovonitzen of III Corps to the left flank and halting the light cavalry that proved to be the game ending decision.  As the French commander I still held Lecchi and the guard division (with infantry and dragoon brigades) in reserve.  I am constantly reminded of Bonaparte's plans to constantly keep one division back from the fight as much as possible (I was having to put CD's on Lecchi all the time to keep him from going over to the attack on his own).

By pulse 2 of turn 7 the situation on the Russian left had collapsed, most certainly the French were going to get though that flank.

Field overview from the Russian left

Field overview from the French left
In the center, the Russian guns had been 1/2 destroyed, now the weight of French artillery would overcome all troops on the first 'slope' or 'level' of the hill south of Maloyaroslavets.  The French had Lecchi and the Italian guard to move into the open ground, while the Russians had no reserved divisions to use to halt this at all.

Russians were being driven away to the south of Maloyaroslavets
The 'back' side of the central hill showing the Italian guard, Lecchi's Division ready to move into the open ground
Platov's Cossacks had shot their bolt, only a remnant barely enough to keep the division as counting as 'effective' and permitted to stay on the table (in a game sort of way) and thus keep the 'score' close - ultimately there was no more Russian cavalry to face down the marauding French horse on the left and nothing at all to challenge the Italian Dragoons of Lecchi.

Russian left facing destruction at the hands of French light cavalry
View from far French right looking towards the open center
The end of turn 7 after 3 pulses had a score of French 3: Russian 1; this was the first moment when there was any score at all, as other brigades had all been successfully pulled back from conflict before they were utterly destroyed.

Turn 8, my opponent could see that he could not stop the French, though he was willing to stay on - only to see if they could be prevented from dominating the south river line.

Ultimately the Russians were unable to even really slow down the French, they were able to keep 1/2 of the town of Maloyaroslavets, yet even Eric was able to see that there would be no way to stop the French here and Kutuzov would have to withdraw the grand battery and move off the army 12-20 miles to the south - thus OPENING the way for the French to move on the Kaluga road to Smolensk ... what a change of history that would have been!

Victory!  Eugene's view of the Russian center, with French infantry on the open ground to the south of Maloyaroslavets
Final score French/Italian 6 : Russian 4 with the French holding 2/3rds of Maloyaroslavets and all of the hills up to the south stream, there were NO RUSSIANS on the north side of the Lusha tributary.

The ragged Russian left, only wounded battalions left to cover the retreat
Ornano's hard road, littered with the Chasseurs in order to open the French right and win the way to Kaluga
Just past midnight, south of Maloyaroslavets, Lecchi and the Italian guard hold the high ground with three massive heavy batteries, Guard Dragoons and Guard Infantry, all ready for action.

RESULT:  French Tactical victory, not an outstanding victory though certainly enough to have convinced the Russian commander Kutuzov to have withdrawn and open the way for Bonaparte to use the Kaluga road to Smolensk

Eric and I pose for a photo after the end of the game
Thank you to Victor for starting me off in the game (playing solo is dull at a convention) - he was patient with so much table-talk happening.  Over and over again new folks would stop by and talk about the game, history, tactics. leadership, strategy etc.  Because I also cast and paint most of the troops there are also painting technical talk that happens.

Eric was a good sport in taking over for Victor and good on him for sticking with the battle to the end.

You can see more of Eric's pictures, taken with his iPad, here.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Calling the bluff

Lauriston leaving Russian camp
Napoleon slowly cam to accept the fact that the Tsar would not come to terms, knowing as he did the weaknesses of the French position and the impossibility of a further effective French offensive that year.  To advance was to die; to stay put was to rot; the only course open was to retreat, in the hope of saving the greater part of the army.  After the failure of his second mission to the Tsar (it returned to Moscow on October 17), the Emperor at last made up his mind.  The Grande Armee would retire and make for the well-provisioned depots of Smolensk by the southern route, crushing Kutusov at Kaluga on its way if this proved necessary.  On the 18th, the corps commanders were ordered to be ready to leave Moscow on the 20th.  The days of lingering were over.  Napoleon accepted that Alexander had called his bluff.
~ D. Chandler, The Campaigns of Napoleon p. 818-819

Monday, October 15, 2012

Maloyaroslavets - Post Action Fast Update

Maloyaroslavets tabletop for the Dak-Kon game
Here, seen from directly above is the tabletop map for the Maloyaroslavets game that I ran at the Dak-Kon games event in Courtenay over the past weekend.

I had the space to spread out more, though I decided to stay compact with the one tower of minis for storage before use in the game.

Dak-Kon 17 Maloyaroslavets game setup ready to deploy troops

I have plans for a full AAR in the next couple of days.


in the past ...

Medals were an important way to distinguish veterans and actually meant something.

Original recipients of the Legion of Honor would get salutes and have other small offerings made to them, like a cup of coffee for free.

today ...

until recently $2.50 and the medal, awarded free from your country, would get you a cup of coffee.

now ...

advertisement cut from facebook today!


Friday, October 12, 2012

Maloyaroslavets OOB for FPGA

I shall simply put out here the Orders of Battle for the French and Russian sides in the Maloyaroslavets battle planned for Dak-Kon 17 in Courtenay tomorrow.

French OOB - Maloyaroslavets - FPGA

Russian OOB - Maloyaroslavets - FPGA

Full AAR with loads of pictures (planned) to follow the convention event, perhaps by Wednesday?


Monday, October 08, 2012

Maloyaroslavets 'Down Under'

The Avon Napoleonic Fellowship recently posted up a game of Maloyaroslavets.

Most enjoyable account, though the forces did not come to direct contact.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

The Leipzig Campaign Series Book

In an earlier post I have mentioned Campaign Series #25 : LEIPZIG 1813

Tonight I have found a website covering the entire text (save for the war gaming ideas section ... grumble).

Click on the link above - I will put it into the sidebar also.


I have not done any 'flats' painting before, I have had these wonderful "Retreat from Russia" minis for a few years now and have been both fascinated and intimidated by the prospect of painting them.

I have finally decided to paint them up, while either planning to put them into a shadow box or other wall display with either a snow-scene backdrop, or the graph depicting the Grand Armee's numbers from the advance to the retreat.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Campaign Planning

I have had some response to my call out for game players interested in taking part in the LEIPZIG 2013 campaign that I have in the works, thank you gents.

One question has come up and I felt it worthwhile answering here.
Osprey Campaign Series #25 : LEIPZIG 1813

I have been reading up plenty on the campaign, a primary source of inspiration for me has been the Osprey Campaign Series #25 book.

The concern has been whether there would likely be more than 12 cavalry squadrons in action - per side in any one battle.  As I am planning on letting the players decide their force compositions based on historical precedent it is possible for a battle like Liebertwolkowitz to take place.

In the event that such a game needs to be played out, all that need be done is to break down the forces into formations that the player can support - I have one that says he can do 2-3 Corps per side in any battle - though they may not all be 'perfect' uniforms [I can totally accept that as I cannot do them in perfect uniforms either] with up to 12 cavalry formations per side.  Immense!

His concern is that the 'scale' of his rules would make doing something like Liebertwolkowitz not possible for the minis that he has.
The formations in a game setup can be 'compressed'

I counter-argue with the image from Campaign Series #25, in it (though it may be hard to see as they are near the 'fold') the battlefield of Liebertwolkowitz has eleven Cavalry formation for the allied side and eight for the French.  Meaning that (as long as some 'large scale' fudging is done) the minis that he has will more than do the job.

While on the subject of planning, and referring back to the maps that I have posted on the blog recently, I have come up with some 'formation' ideas and movement rates.  As well as some formation 'statuses' for use in the game environment that come from Campaign Series #25 as well.

First up the movement rates:  (all move rates are doubled on roads)

French - Austrian - Prussians - Swedes:
Infantry & Foot Artillery 1 hex (6 miles) per day
Heavy Cavalry & Horse Artillery 2 hexes (12 miles) per day
Light Cavalry 3 hexes (18 miles) per day

Russians (plus ANY Allied formations that are moving WITH Russians - an often occurrence in the context of this campaign)
Infantry & Foot Artillery 1/2 hex per day (3 miles)
Heavy Cavalry & Horse Artillery 1 Hex (6 miles) per day
Light Cavalry 2 Hexes (12 miles) per day
Cossacks 3 Hexes (18 miles) per day

Unlimited number of units (Divisions) per hex, however only 8 may move down a 'main' road (such a road can be seen between Hamburg and Schwerin - upper left) and 6 down a 'secondary' road (such a road can be seen from Schwerin and Domitz).  Whenever crossing a river the road rate is 'halved' so only 4 divisions may cross a river on a main road and 3 on a secondary.

zoom in of the campaign map - Hamburg to Schwerin with no grid

Other crossings of rivers will be by pontoons only (both sides have pontooniers and engineers or bridging trains) likely at a rate of 2 divisions per day in open country - less in more questionable terrain.

What constitutes a Division is still going to be hashed out I suspect, the basic 2 brigades minimum or about 4 cavalry squadrons - 6 infantry battalions - 4 batteries (for a corps artillery 'support') are what my thinking is at the moment.  With a Corps simply being 2 or more formations of 'division' size combined (so yes it is possible to have an all cavalry corps - just as the French used historically).

The Campaign Series #25 also has some great notes sections about 'gaming out' the huge Leipzig campaign:

Participants will take the roles of army and, if sufficient players wish to take part, corps commanders.  The tactical unit will be the division, which will be assigned a points value prior to the game representing numerical strength, morale and training/experience in one Combat Value [here I plan to use GURPS Mass Combat].  Divisions will be regarded as marching/Maneuvering when moving out of contact with the enemy, when arriving on the battlefield, or executing a flank march, for example; Formed when stationary on the battlefield, out of contact with the enemy and able to march or deploy at short notice, as when held in reserve awaiting orders; Deployed when drawn up in battle formation for attack or defense; Engaged when in contact with the enemy, whether making or receiving a determined attack or merely skirmishing and feeding troops into the firing line; and Spent/Dispersed after having been Engaged for several hours, repulsed after making several unsuccessful attacks on a position, or driven off in disorder by an enemy attack.  Troops cannot Deploy easily or rapidly unless they are Formed, or March/Maneuver quickly from Deployed without first being formed, preventing the rapid reactions and redeployment so often seen in tabletop war-games, which take little or no account of the way bodies of troops had to change formation in reality.
~ p. 96, Campaign Series #25 : LEIPZIG 1813

So my plans revolve around handling the Divisions in the 'virtual' environment for their big moves across the map and then to have proxy battles engaged (and do a few myself - of course!) all over the world with reporting back about those battles coming into a single blog site - something newly setup most likely.

I am still recruiting for the army commanders and any and all tabletops that want to take on a piece of this gigantic action.  Email: with your interests and ability to support games (or if you are not at all able and just want to take on the command role).

Tsar's Campaign Begins

The limits of the French invasion of Russia 1812
Every day that passed was allowing the advantage of the strategical situation to move more decidedly in teh Tsar's favor.  Kutusov appreciated this and did all in his power to protract Napoleon's stay in Moscow, deliberately playing on his opponent's desire for peace.  The Tsar, meantime, subjected to heavy pressure by his advisers, remained intractably aloof.  No idea of coming to terms with Napoleon now entered his thoughts.  Not only was time playing into the hands of the Russians by bringing "General Winter" ever closer, but it was also permitting the size of their forces to be rapidly augmented.  By October 4, the RUssian generals could at last claim numerical superiority on almost every sector of the huge front.  South of Moscow, Kutusov's army numbered at least 110,000 men, while Napoleon commanded only 95,000; even if the VIIIth Corps, situated near Borodino, was added to this number, the Emperor could dispose of few more than 100,000 men.  On the extended flanks, the overall situation was even more favorable for the Tsar's warriors.  On the northern sector, General Wittgenstein (40,000) was facing Oudinot and St. Cyr (17,000) near Polotsk.  On the extreme right, General Essen's garrison at Riga (14,000) had recently been supplemented by the arrival of General Steinheil with 10,000 men from the Army of Finland, while Marshal Macdonald was attempting to continue the siege of Riga and at the same time control some 80 miles of teh Dvina down to Dunaburg with only 25,000 men, and of these at least half of the Prussian contingent were of increasingly dubious loyalty.  On the southern flank, the army of Admiral Tshitsagov from the Danube had newly combined with Tormassov's Third Army to create a joint force of 65,000 men, more than enough to outfight Schwartzenberg's and Reynier's 34,000.  It was true that the 37,000 men of the French IXth Corps in the vicinity of Smolensk were presently unopposed by any regular Russian force, but the increasing number of raids by Cossacks and peasantry against isolated detachments along Napoleon's long lines of communication made its presence there more vital if even a tenuous link with Poland was to be maintained.  Similarly, Marshal Augerau was holding some 26,000 conscripts at far-away Stettin and General Loison had a further 10,000 near Koingsberg, but the worsening relations between France and Prussia made it impracticable for these troops to be moved up to the front.  The remainder of the starving survivors of the once 600,000 strong Grand Armee were dead, lying in inadequate hospitals, straggling hopelessly over the countryside, or strung out in numerous small detachments along the overextended communications.  In other words, Napoleon had shot his bolt, and was left with a huge arrow-shaped salient to defend, extending 360 miles wide at its broadest part and running for no less than 550 miles into the seemingly fathomless depths of Russia to its apex at Moscow.  The Russian armies on his flanks were in excellent positions for driving great salients into French-held territory, and might, in due course, isolate Napoleon's main body from its bases.  Small wonder, therefore, that the Tsar rebuffed Napoleon's peace feelers and is reputed to have remarked, "This is the moment when my campaign begins."

~ D. Chandler, The Campaigns of Napoleon, p. 817-818