Smoleńsk w okowach lodu. Rzecz o reorganizacji Wielkiej Armii Napoleona w listopadowe dni 1812 roku
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Smolensk in the fetters of ice. On the reorganization of the Great Napoleonic Army in November 1812 In the year 1812, Smoleńsk was to have served as a supply center for the Great Army. When deciding to retreat from the battlefield at Malojaroslavec, Napoleon was convinced that Smoleńsk was well prepared and that the Great Army would be able to spend the winter in its vicinity. Yet it turned out that the Great Army commissariat and the local Napoleonic governors were not able to adequately prepare the Smoleńsk fortress. Therefore on reaching Smoleńsk, Napoleon made the decision that the Great Army should retreat further to the west – onto the territories of the former Polish Commonwealth – Lithuania. In the course of a few days from 9–14 November, he managed to increase the size of the Great Army by around 20 thousand soldiers. When leaving Smoleńsk, Napoleon’s army had still around two hundred canons at its disposal. It had adequate supplies of food, ammunition and was to a large degree “rejuvenated”. Napoleon had attained a great feat at Smoleńsk. He had in fact saved the Great Army. Without his effort, the army’s further march would have been impossible. The reorganized Great Army was able to retreat further to the west and its regiments were ready to fend off the attacks of the enemy – that is Russians, as was proved by the heavy fighting in the battle of Krasne.
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