The battle of Borodino was one of the greatest encounters in European history, and one of the largest and most sanguinary in the Napoleonic Wars. Following the breakdown of relations between Russia and France, Napoleon assembled a vast Grande Armee drawn from the many states within the French sphere of influence. They crossed the river Neimen and entered Russian territory in June 1812 with the aim of inflicting a sharp defeat on the Tsar's forces and bringing the Russians back into line.
In a bloody battle of head-on attacks and desperate counter-attacks in the village of Borodino on 7 September 1812, both sides lost about a third of their men, with the Russians forced to withdraw and abandon Moscow to the French. However, the Grande Armee was harassed by Russian troops all the way back and was destroyed by the retreat. The greatest army Napoleon had ever commanded was reduced to a shadow of frozen, starving fugitives.
This book examines the events of Napoleon's disastrous Russian campaign of 1812 in its entirety, with the set-piece battle of Borodino as the focal point.