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"The Grand Failure: How Logistics of Supply Defeated Napoleon" Topic

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP06 Sep 2022 4:35 p.m. PST

… in 1812

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Frederick Supporting Member of TMP06 Sep 2022 6:10 p.m. PST

Interesting but I have to question "Alexander was busy rebuilding his army from the battle at Borodino to an invincible 215,000 soldiers" – I have heard the Russian army called many thinks, but invincible is not one of them

Dave Jackson Supporting Member of TMP07 Sep 2022 5:52 a.m. PST

yes indeed….what Frederick said.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP07 Sep 2022 4:00 p.m. PST



Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP08 Nov 2022 2:54 p.m. PST

Agree with Frederick. It wasn't the Russian army that defeated the French in 1812 but the sheer size of the country and the limitations of communications in the massive campaign. One of Napoleon's three major mistakes.

Rosenberg08 Nov 2022 11:53 p.m. PST

The invasion of Russia has always been an impossible ask. From the west at least. Supplying an army of over 250,000 was impossible. Where would the supplies have come from even if there had been enough carts and draught horses. Alexander and Barclay de Tolly's tactics were spot on. So it proved in 1941-5.
Napoleom lost the campaign as soon as he failed to defeat the 1st & 2nd Russian armies before Smolensk. It was the march in that destroyed the army especially the cavalry.

Napoleon's regime was too weak to survive him being in Russia (away from Paris) for more than nine months. France is STILL hard to govern ask Macron!

No it was and still is an impossible task. Plus of course the elephant in the room was Napoleon's Continental System failure.

von Winterfeldt09 Nov 2022 12:27 a.m. PST

Boney never came to full grips with logistics, though it did exsist to some extend – ammunition – in his army. It showed badly at Syria but Boney didn't learn anything from it. And again in 1805 logistics were very bad, Davout – allegedly the best organised corps in the Grande Armée, had to leave all this 12 pound guns behind as well as 120 waggons.
As for Russia 1812 Boney had the vain idea that one early battle in the campaign would bring the Russian Emperor to his knees and beg for peace – there the Russian Army declined to play according to the fantasy of Boney – the system of logistics collapsed and indeed never worked as already at the concentration in the Duchy of Warsaw units were forced to plunder and to aquire cattle for their own supply.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP09 Nov 2022 6:03 a.m. PST

Napoleon certainly understood logistics and went to great lengths to improve logistics and supply. That was why he introduced the military supply train battalions (train des Equipages Militaires) in March 1807.

And the Russian campaign was the most thoroughly organized logistically, 'far beyond those of any previous campaign.' Napoleon thoroughly prepared for the new campaign, but his efforts were based on his intent to bring the Russian army to a decisive battle in western Russia, shortly after crossing the Russian frontier.

There were at least 13 train battalions by 1809. Eugene organized an additional two in Italy. By early 1812 there were nine more battalions. Fifteen train battalions went into Russia, and it was considered sufficient that one train battalion could support a corps.

It should also be noted that this was a separate organization from the artillery train battalions.

Gazzola10 Nov 2022 10:31 a.m. PST

Interesting how the opponents of Napoleon and the French get the credit when a disaster happens but when the British suffer a disaster such as the Walcheren Expedition, their opponents don't get any credit. LOL

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