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  • Writer's pictureGeorge Castrioti

November 26th, 1812 - The Battle of Berezina

Conflict: Napoleonic Invasion of Russia

Combatants: French vs. Russians

Location: Russia

Outcome: Inconclusive

Still in retreat from the disastrous Moscow campaign, Napoleon's bedraggled Grande Armee and its allies were caught against the Berezina River by the pursuing Russian forces under the command of Field Marshal Mikhail Kutuzov. Despite constant attacks, the French managed to construct a bridge of pontoons and move thousands of soldiers across the river. Still, thousands more remained on the enemy side of the river when the bridges were blown on November 28th. The French lost more 30,000 men in the crossing.

Dutch Soldiers at the Battle of Berezina by Jan Hoynck van Papendrecht

Points of Interest:

  • Over the course of the invasion, the Russians lost 250,000 men. The French lost over 400,000 soldiers, 175,000 horses, and 1,000 can.

  • Both Austria and Prussia were allied with the French at this time but neither gave much assistance in the retreat from Russia.

Portrait of russian Field Marshal M.I. Kutuzov by R.M. Volkov

Napoleon I of France by Andrea Appiani

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