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Napoleon's Russian Campaign

Campaign Name : Napoleon's Russian Campaign

Date(s) : 18 June 1812 - 14 December 1812

Part of : The French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars ,


Napoleon had thought of attacking Russia and either crushing her army or occupying Moscow, forcing her into capitulation.

He crossed the Niemen with over 600,000 troops, but Russia absorbed them completely. Battle, cold, hunger, disease and Cossacks took a heavy toll, particularly once they had reached Moscow on 14/09/1812. Although the French possessed the capital, the Russians refused to agree terms. Napoleon had lost too many men getting there and winter was closing in. 4 weeks after arriving in Moscow, he decided to retreat back to Germany.

By January, when the last of McDonald's command arrived in Konigsberg there were only around 93,000 troops left. Further, of the around 400,000 he crossed the Russian border with, he only left Russia with about 34,000.

This massive defeat signaled the beginning of the end for Napoleon's continental system and his dominance over Europe.

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