1812 French Invasion of Russia vs. Logistics

KorbenDallas

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Well, considering that recently I've had quite some time of forum inactivity on my hands, I had a chance to ponder on a few things. Below is one of those. It pertains to whether such a thing as Napoleonic invasion of Russia could have taken place in accordance with the narrative. Logistics are in question here.

portrait-of-napoleon-1-700x390.jpg


1812 French invasion of Russia
Some Wiki facts follow below:
  • The French invasion of Russia, known in Russia as the Patriotic War of 1812 began on 24 June 1812 when Napoleon's Grande Armée crossed the Neman River in an attempt to engage and defeat the Russian army. Napoleon hoped to compel Emperor of All Russia Alexander I to cease trading with British merchants through proxies in an effort to pressure the United Kingdom to sue for peace.
Napoleon's army size + info:
  • c. 685,000 soldiers
  • 180,000-200,000 horses
  • Paris to Moscow: 1,762 miles
  • Eastern France to Western Russia: approximately 1,000 miles (as crow flies)
  • Neman River to Russian western border: approximately 200 miles
KD: Basically, what we are being told is that 685,000 soldiers and 200,000 horses marched to Russia and got engaged in a major war. Let us see if it was probable.
  • Remarkable is the fact that the Great Army had to march for approximately 1,000 miles before even making it to the Russian border.
Crossing the Neman River
The Neman is a major Eastern European river. It rises in Belarus and flows through Lithuania before draining into the Curonian Lagoon, and then into the Baltic Sea at Rusnė Island. It begins at the confluence of two smaller tributaries, about 15 kilometers (9 mi) southwest of the town of Uzda in central Belarus, and about 55 km (34 mi) southwest of Minsk. In its lower reaches it forms the border between Lithuania and Russia's Kaliningrad Oblast. It also, very briefly, forms part of the Belarus–Lithuania border. The largest river in Lithuania, and the third-largest in Belarus, the Neman is navigable for most of its 900 km (560 mi) length.

napoleon-crossing-the-niemen-engraved-by-beyer-and-doherty.jpg

Now, this here above would be my weakest point, for I truly do not know how much time and effort it would take 685,000 soldiers, multiple cannons and 200,000 horses to cross this river. If you have any idea - please share.

Food
Personally, I find the food supply to be the most intriguing part of the entire French invasion. To help out with how much food would be required to support the army of this size for the prolonged duration of time I turned to Google, and here is what I got:

Horses:
  • Just how much your horse will need will depend on its weight. According to the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, a full-grown horse should eat about 15 to 20 pounds (6.8 kg to 9.1 kg) of hay a day. That is 1.5 percent to 3 percent of its body weight if it weighs about 1,000 pounds (450 kg). This is a very rough average and horses will require more or less depending on their metabolism, workload, the time of year, and what else they may be eating.
horse.jpg

Assuming that Napoleon's horses were moving and hauling stuff, they needed way more food than an average non working horse would need. Let us consider the minimum of 20 lbs per day.

200,000 horses would need approximately 4,000,000 lbs of hay per day. Obviously sporadically this could be supplemented with grass, but according to one of my co-workers who has a horse, just grass would not cut it.

Soldiers:
Obviously, humans can eat less. The question here is for how long can soldiers marching for hours per day sustain their combat readiness without the proper amount of food?
  • Though one of the greatest military generals of all time, Napoleon was surprisingly negligent about feeding his army. His orders for the Grande Armée's rations were ample enough: "Soup, boiled beef, a roasted joint and some vegetables; no dessert." But bad roads and poor weather often prevented supply wagons from reaching campsites in time.
Supply Wagons
french_supply _wagon.jpg

Well, I do not know about the lifting capacity of the above wagons delivering food from France to Russia, but today our opinion is as follows:
  • The horses weigh between 1650 and 1750 pounds apiece. A draft horse can pull a dead weight along the ground (draft) equal to 1/10 their body weight for 8 hours a day. For short distances, they can pull ten to fifteen times as much. The fully loaded wagon will only draft at 300 - 400 pounds on flat ground.
Here is what it would take to supply the French Army today.

Average Semi Truck
Most semi-trucks in the U.S. haul around 40 tons (80,000 pounds).

semi-truck.jpg

Essentially, to supply the French Army with food for the soldiers only, the following number of semi truck deliveries would be needed:
  • 1 day: 34 semi trucks - 2,740,000 lbs of food
  • 1 week: 240 semi trucks - 19,200,000 lbs of food
  • 1 month: 1,027 semi trucks - 82,160,000 lbs of food
Giving those 19th century horses pulling abilities some credit (let's say they can pull 1,000 lbs non stop) we end up with the following numbers
  • 1 day: 2,740 supply carriages
  • 1 week: 19,200 supply carriages
  • 1 month: 82,160 supply carriages
Assuming that one horse carriage is approximately 20 feet long, and allowing for 10 feet between carriages, we end up with the daily arrival of an approximately 15.5 mile long horse convoy carrying nothing but food. And that is day in and day out. Every day, non stop.

Well, above we only have food supply related requirements. If we factor in military supplies, such as bullets, cannon balls, additional weapons, clothing, etc, we will most likely end up with considerably more logistical requirements.

The above carriage numbers do not include any horse food, and horse maintenance related requirements
kd_separator.jpg

I know, the above is dry and boring, but I simply do not understand how the army of this size could be properly supplied to maintain its fighting readiness. I spent quite a few years in the military service, and know that any type of war-fighting becomes secondary when you have nothing to eat.

Any opinions on how Mr. Napoleon could pull this off?

P.S. There are many additional issues, like the quality of their uniforms with gilded epaulettes, roads, and the lengths of this marching column. It almost sounds like the front of the marching column had to be crossing into Russia simultaneously with the rear of the same column leaving France.
 

jd755

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Once you look into the logistics of any of what we get told 'happened in history' the veracity of the historical event disappears. Peter the great is said to have set off to build St Petersburg with 300,000 peasants brought in from across Russia but 200,000 snuffed it on the way so he only had 100,000 left to build the city in a land that is very cold for half the year and plagued with flies for the other half and surrounded by forest with no roads in.
Makes no sense.

Lets talk shit. Crude to some but a vital bodily process that has great relevance to assessing the claims of history to me at least. I did this last year to come to a balance of probability about the Honduran caravan of criminals heading for 'the border'.

So using waki figures 685,000 soldiers taking on averge 685,000 dumps per day. That is a lot of shit. Where did it go. Did they dig holes or shit in the bushes. They must have left a line of shit or holes or both behind them. The smell must have been incredible if they were marching in spring or especially summer and flies and other insects might have noticed and would be homing in on the column of marching men and their baggage train and their camp followers.
In fact the numbers of camp followers never seem to be included in 'official figures' but men needing feeding, bedding, laundry, fresh water, beer or wine to drink, clothes repairs, replacement boots, boot repairs, medicines, and god knows what else cannot march and have the energy at the end of the marching day to set camp and then just before it gets dark get everything that needs to be done to be ready to break camp and march the next day, done and dusted, so the numbers of followers must have been sizeable to say the least so even more shit left lying about as they too would have been on a daily dump routine.

Then the horses 200,000 in number according to waki. I have no idea how much shit a horse produces during a day but by volume it's considerably more than humans push out and all of it goes on the ground to be marched over by whoever is behind the horse. Same goes for its piss.
The middle to end of the column must have been marching through an open sewer of horse shit and piss. Horse flies are another nuisance that must have noticed 200,000 horses shitting in line of march and those buggers will bite humans as soon as look at them so the marching men and camp followers must have been bitten to pieces.

Back to the humans, they all need to take a piss three or four times a day as they must be taking in fluids be it water, wine or beer to be able to cover the ground day in day out. That's a flood of human piss to add to the horse piss that again insects might just notice. The smell of the sweat of the moving humans and animals will definitely have been of considerable interest to sweat flies and mosquito's.

The women amongst the camp followers. Their monthly cycle runs regardless and all of the women of a certain age on that march would have to dispose of sanitary towelling of some form or other along the way once more adding to the trail of human and animal waste this 'army' would leave behind it with every day including all manner or worn out kit and clobber.

Add in the cooking water and uneaten food, food that had gone off etc and the marching army is basically leaves a line of garbage behind it as it wanders into Russia which bears and wolves and whatever other large predators were knocking about couldn't have ignored.
And what about other animals. Dogs are bound to have been a feature. They are opportunists and a large body of humans together is one hell of an opportunity to pass up on so add in dog shit to the trail.
Cows and sheep for eating maybe. Were they herded along with the column losing condition day by day as the had to walk as far as the column did each day. An out of condition animal does not provide a lot of good meat but if there were herds and flocks in the line then more shit not to mention more food to find.
Chickens even. Were they carried along in carts or cages for eggs and meat?
They wouldn't be able to keep up walking and neither would their feathered relatives ducks and geese. Perhaps the marchers simply bagged animals including deer, pigs, goats as they marched along and the camp followers picked them up as they got the them.
Trouble with that is the marchers would make one hell of a racket and I feel sure all prey animals would have at least hidden in the bushes as the column went by if not legged it to somewhere less noisy.

It's one thing to say the baggage train was all wagons pulled by horses or even cows/oxen but the further the column got from France the less the French homeland was able to resupply the column so where did it get its resupplies from?
The route cannot be advertised in advance so people ahead of it could not 'cash in' by baking more bread for example to supply it with a staple. The bread had to follow the column or perhaps they ate pan bread in which case as soon as it left France it had to rely on the flour loaded in France which if it gets wet becomes inedible.

Beer and wine takes up a lot of room and is a great weight. Sloshing in bottles or more likely barrels is very dangerous if the thing carrying them goes too quick such as a horse drawn cart and the sloshing would tip the cart over very quickly so the horses couldn't move quickly.

So even basics would need daily replenishment from wherever the army found itself and in overtly hostile territory all supplies would simply vanish or have to be fought for, one presumes and once used up unless it keeps going it's stuffed as its already eaten and drunk everything to be had on the route in.

Fire is required for cooking, keeping warm, light at night. How could they be marching all day and procure enough firewood to use every night?
Surely such fires would be of great interest to 'the other side' as night by night they could make an educated guess at the direction of travel and make arrangements accordingly. Certainly the locals if no-one else would take keen interest in these smoke signals.
Hell they could even be following the army and judging from its trail of sewerage smell, clouds of insects, garbage and debris, horse bones, they could work out a probable direction of travel and the French army would be blissfully unaware of what was going on behind them.

I wonder would it have been better to have been at the head of the column with nothing between you and the bullets or at the back wandering through a sewer but safe from bullets?
I often wonder why the side being 'attacked' didn't simply take a long loop round and come up at the rear of these columns if only to smash their supplies or blow up their ammunition. Strikes me as being much easier and more likely to render the army useless than 'meeting them in the field of battle'. Even the Germans in world war two had the sense to go round the Maginot line, or so we are told.

Unless the little Emperor wandered around with a little army the logistics of shit once again renders the official history questionable at best.
 
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ISeenItFirst

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There one thing they could bring with them that could alleviate a lot of your issues. Money.

Scouts and messengers and buyers go out ahead, and supply caches are arranged as needed. This is fairly easy to plan in friendly territory. The real logistical issues come when you get into hostile territory.

Another excellent thread. Sorry I haven't been around as much with my contrarianism.
 

BrokenAgate

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KorbenDallas said:
Any opinions on how Mr. Napoleon could pull this off?
I think this is where "And then a miracle happened..." would be inserted into the official narrative as given in the typical history textbook. Or would be, if historians believed in miracles, because that's the only way our Mr. Bonaparte could have performed this magic trick. I can't help but wonder what condition the poor horses would be in by the time they'd marched a thousand miles to Russia on scant rations. Surely, they'd be in no condition to carry their riders into battle? And their number would be greatly reduced by that time; when rations are low, it's not uncommon for soldiers to resort to eating the horses and oxen. We aren't told about this, but if this event has any basis in reality at all, then we can be sure the horses were just walking food banks and most of the army fought on foot. It's the only thing that makes any sense, if we are to have our soldiers actually survive the march.
 

mythstifieD

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What do you think of these maps?

Historical Data Visualization: Minard’s map vectorized and revisited

There's a geographic one with cities crossed. Naturally, historians would say they were fed by the cities.. Maybe.. But 700k and 200k suddenly flooding your city and eating everything in sight would be absurd.

Look at Orsha

Today it has a population of only 110k people. Let's say back then it was 60k (can't find numbers). Imagine living there and out of the blue an endless stream of soldiers and horses, 100x the size of your city, streams through over the course of a few days. If your city is 60k it likely only has the carrying capacity of maybe 70-80k (to account for travelers), an unexpected surge like that would completely drain the city many times over. Did the people left in Napoleans wake die of starvation amongst the mountains of horseshit literally left behind?

What is the official explanation of this?

Also
I find it interesting that the nation that inherited American Tartaria launches a war with the UK just a week prior to Napoleon invading Russia.
  • September 14French invasion of Russia: Napoleon's troops enter Moscow, which is deliberately set on fire by Muscovites, on orders of Fyodor Rostopchin. Later accounts report that France lost 40,000 troops during four days of fire between September 17 and 20, and that 20,000 Russian soldiers were killed in what would be described in 1876 as "the greatest example in history of national self-sacrifice for the destruction of an invader."
Moscow burns to the ground, how convenient... Why burn the city and its ancient history?! I can see it happening as a casualty of the war itself, but TK purposely set it ablaze before the battle is even lost?! I don't buy it for a second.

Fomenko talks a bit about Napoleon. I haven't read his thoughts at length but it really seems to me that these wars were somehow a cleanup crew against the last vestiges of Great Tartaria.

At the same time, I really can't pinpoint if Napoleon is a good guy or not. He was fighting some really oppressive Globalist forces which I cheer, but at the same time he was just building his own empire too? I feel like the story doesn't add up because we're missing important truths about what was really going on...
 
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jd755

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From here [TMP] "Napoleonic Road/March Column Length" Topic

Scale this up to waki figures and marvel.


HAMLEY, Gen Sir Edward Bruce, The Operations of War: Explained and Illustrated, ed. by Maj Gen Sir George Aston, new edition, (London: Blackwood & Sons, 1923)p.28 reckons:

'In round numbers, 30,000 infantry on the march extend over about 5 miles of road; adding from one fourth to one third for lengthening out, they would extend over 7 miles; 60 guns with their attendant carriages occupy 2 1/2 miles; 6,000 cavalry, in sections (four abreast), allowing 12 feet of space longitudinaly to each horse, fully 4 miles.'

Which is good enough for me.

He goes on to say regarding 1815 that:

'If Napoleon's army had entered Belgium by one road instead of three, it would have extended as follows:-

90,000 infantry 21 miles
20,000 cavalary 14 miles
350 guns etc 14 miles

Total 49 miles

irrespective of stores.'

He points out that French authority says this would be reduced because of very wide roads by 3/10 leaving a length of 34 miles.

Hence the movement by more than one road.
 

Razor2299

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Back in those days the invading armies used to confiscate food and other supples from local population. So in my oppinion there was no need to carry much supplies from France, may be wine :) Now, that excessive confiscation and simply robbery sparkled infamous Rissian guerilla warfare or " partisan war" to the French demise.
 

mythstifieD

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Another thought is the timing is July to September, so let's consider the timing

The 12 Months of the French Republican Calendar

Handy of the revolutionaries to give us this guide.

Looks like Napoleon decided to set out right about Harvest month(Literally). So on the one hand, maybe it's feasible from a food standpoint that they merely appropriated the harvests as they went along their march....

....how would that not have bankrupted and starved thousands, hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of people and crashed their local or regional or greater economies?! Those soldiers would have taken a massive chunk out of their harvests would they not?

(disclosure: I am not a farmer)
 

ISeenItFirst

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It's never hard to raise supplies for a defensive force. All these people were eating anyways, they just need to get it in the right spot. In friendly territory, these things can be arranged well in advance. It still happens the same way today. Wise intelligence can spot the uptick In goods arriving In border towns long before the army has left the capital. In enemy territory, taking provisions becomes a high priority.

This is why burning Moscow made sense, so that nothing was left behind to sustain the invading army. Obviously what could be carried by the retreating force and populations, was. What remained was burned.

Armies march slow. Communications move much faster.

Gen. Smedley butler wrote an amazing short book called war is a racket. Nothing better to shear the sheep with than a good war.
 

jd755

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A body of 685,000 plus people and 200,000 horses places the exact same demand on the system no matter where it is located but crucially, to me, when that place is a different place every day the it doesn't matter if its in friendly or hostile territory the problem of supply is the issue, as is the waste stream I went through above if for no other reason than its inevitable impact on health.

The roads if left for horses and wagons must mean the soldiers were walking on lesser roads, rough ground or over fields. That's some amazing compaction that beats any known road roller hands down over the length of march. And 200,000 horses and an unknown quantity of four wheeled fully loaded carts must have damaged the roads.
This compaction and road damage mixed in with the waste stream makes the numbers even more fanciful.
When it rains though it all becomes a sea of mud which leads to ever more compaction until they can move no more and have to sit it out soaking wet, covered in mud and shit.

1500, miles at best at fifteen miles a day with no 'day of rest' is 100 days of continuous walking. 100 days is just over three months. To make sure the ground is likely dry enough to achieve this the march has to run through summer. Of course it won't be dry for the entire three months so there are bound to be days where its too wet to walk. The army is then stuck in one place for however many days thus depleting whatever supplies may be forced/given/bought by the locals, brought in by the supply train or foraged from nature by the army and its followers.
Sanitary conditions would go down the pan very quickly as warmth and wet are the favoured conditions of things that debilitate man and beast alike.
Bad enough when in a 'friendly area' cannot imagine what it would be like in a 'hostile area' where the entire population doesn't want these people there. Whether they destroyed everything ahead of them or not is moot when the army cannot move an inch let alone a mile.

Major General Aston estimates;
'In round numbers, 30,000 infantry on the march extend over about 5 miles of road; adding from one fourth to one third for lengthening out, they would extend over 7 miles; 60 guns with their attendant carriages occupy 2 1/2 miles; 6,000 cavalry, in sections (four abreast), allowing 12 feet of space longitudinaly to each horse, fully 4 miles.'

So even this single column of 30,000 infantry about 5 miles long walking at the average of 3 miles per hour began to set off those last to leave camp would do so 2 hours or more after the first allowing for the lengthening out effect. They couldn't all hit the march together even if they camped where they stopped as the volume of traffic would naturally lead to a slowing down of the speed of march and should something hold up the head such as bridge for example then it would all come to a halt.
Now treble that to a 90,000 strong column and the rear of the column is leaving 6 hours at least after the head with not much chance of the head being able to inform the middle and tail to slow down or stop because of an obstruction, delay or attack it has encountered. Stopping 90,000 slow moving men and horses in a line of march, in a safe and timely manner is I feel not possible

Mix in guns, followers and horses and it just gets slower and slower and ever more unlikely ever more unwieldy and ever more tempting a target for 'the other side' to have a go at.
There would be no way for the supplies held at the rear of such a thing to get through to the head of the column making camp in time to feed and water them so the supplies must have been within the column further slowing the speed of march.

This was apparently a major issue for the Germans in World war 2. They often outran their supply lines and had to sit and wait it out, not least on the Russian 'front' as incredible as it sounds much of their supply lines featured the age old horse and cart!

I don't care how fit you are walking 15 miles per day for a 100 days straight isn't possible without losing condition, wearing a joint out, suffering some sort of health issue even if you are wearing lycra and travelling with a team who care for you when you stop.
Walking this distance at this rate with a pack, gun ammunition, tent?, in uniform, including hat, wearing out boots and uniform alike, chafing, rubbing, sweating, due to the marching season being in summer, soaking and drying out, leather cracking and failing, stop start through whatever shit and piss is on the line of march, not eating enough, not drinking enough, not bathing, not socialising with the only rest coming when night arrives, with near certain death or injury at the end of it and even if you survive there is the long walk back home to come, is beyond superhuman to me.
Desertion must have been high on the minds of the soldiers compelled to be there. Their mental state can only be guessed at but once they entered hostile territory not knowing anything of where they are and being shot at their stress levels must have gone off the scale and put even more strain on their bodily systems.

A horse without rider may well cover this distance in 100 days without suffering but carrying a rider, pulling a gun or supply wagon, probably not.

The improbable logistics, the probable state of the minds and bodies of the marchers along with the infrastructure they were moving along reveal, to me, the impossibility of the numerical claims and with it the veracity of the events falls down. Something may have happened just not something the 'official' history (aka authority) tells us all about.

How they managed to secure their supply line route all the way back to 'friendly' territory is beyond my imagination.
 
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ISeenItFirst

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A body of 685,000 plus people and 200,000 horses places the exact same demand on the system no matter where it is located but crucially, to me, when that place is a different place every day the it doesn't matter if its in friendly or hostile territory the problem of supply is the issue, as is the waste stream I went through above if for no other reason than its inevitable impact on health.

The roads if left for horses and wagons must mean the soldiers were walking on lesser roads, rough ground or over fields. That's some amazing compaction that beats any known road roller hands down over the length of march. And 200,000 horses and an unknown quantity of four wheeled fully loaded carts must have damaged the roads.
This compaction and road damage mixed in with the waste stream makes the numbers even more fanciful.
When it rains though it all becomes a sea of mud which leads to ever more compaction until they can move no more and have to sit it out soaking wet, covered in mud and shit.

1500, miles at best at fifteen miles a day with no 'day of rest' is 100 days of continuous walking. 100 days is just over three months. To make sure the ground is likely dry enough to achieve this the march has to run through summer. Of course it won't be dry for the entire three months so there are bound to be days where its too wet to walk. The army is then stuck in one place for however many days thus depleting whatever supplies may be forced/given/bought by the locals, brought in by the supply train or foraged from nature by the army and its followers.
Sanitary conditions would go down the pan very quickly as warmth and wet are the favoured conditions of things that debilitate man and beast alike.
Bad enough when in a 'friendly area' cannot imagine what it would be like in a 'hostile area' where the entire population doesn't want these people there. Whether they destroyed everything ahead of them or not is moot when the army cannot move an inch let alone a mile.

Major General Aston estimates;
'In round numbers, 30,000 infantry on the march extend over about 5 miles of road; adding from one fourth to one third for lengthening out, they would extend over 7 miles; 60 guns with their attendant carriages occupy 2 1/2 miles; 6,000 cavalry, in sections (four abreast), allowing 12 feet of space longitudinaly to each horse, fully 4 miles.'

So even this single column of 30,000 infantry about 5 miles long walking at the average of 3 miles per hour began to set off those last to leave camp would do so 2 hours or more after the first allowing for the lengthening out effect. They couldn't all hit the march together even if they camped where they stopped as the volume of traffic would naturally lead to a slowing down of the speed of march and should something hold up the head such as bridge for example then it would all come to a halt.
Now treble that to a 90,000 strong column and the rear of the column is leaving 6 hours at least after the head with not much chance of the head being able to inform the middle and tail to slow down or stop because of an obstruction, delay or attack it has encountered. Stopping 90,000 slow moving men and horses in a line of march, in a safe and timely manner is I feel not possible

Mix in guns, followers and horses and it just gets slower and slower and ever more unlikely ever more unwieldy and ever more tempting a target for 'the other side' to have a go at.
There would be no way for the supplies held at the rear of such a thing to get through to the head of the column making camp in time to feed and water them so the supplies must have been within the column further slowing the speed of march.

This was apparently a major issue for the Germans in World war 2. They often outran their supply lines and had to sit and wait it out, not least on the Russian 'front' as incredible as it sounds much of their supply lines featured the age old horse and cart!

I don't care how fit you are walking 15 miles per day for a 100 days straight isn't possible without losing condition, wearing a joint out, suffering some sort of health issue even if you are wearing lycra and travelling with a team who care for you when you stop.
Walking this distance at this rate with a pack, gun ammunition, tent?, in uniform, including hat, wearing out boots and uniform alike, chafing, rubbing, sweating, due to the marching season being in summer, soaking and drying out, leather cracking and failing, stop start through whatever shit and piss is on the line of march, not eating enough, not drinking enough, not bathing, not socialising with the only rest coming when night arrives, with near certain death or injury at the end of it and even if you survive there is the long walk back home to come, is beyond superhuman to me.
Desertion must have been high on the minds of the soldiers compelled to be there. Their mental state can only be guessed at but once they entered hostile territory not knowing anything of where they are and being shot at their stress levels must have gone off the scale and put even more strain on their bodily systems.

A horse without rider may well cover this distance in 100 days without suffering but carrying a rider, pulling a gun or supply wagon, probably not.

The improbable logistics, the probable state of the minds and bodies of the marchers along with the infrastructure they were moving along reveal, to me, the impossibility of the numerical claims and with it the veracity of the events falls down. Something may have happened just not something the 'official' history (aka authority) tells us all about.

How they managed to secure their supply line route all the way back to 'friendly' territory is beyond my imagination.
Sounds like a whole lot of assumptions to me. Nothing based on fact.

Some of it is just laughable. The head can inform the middle of everything. Just tell the guy behind you. Or just let him see for himself. Or did you think if the front guy stops you d have a pile of 90,000 soldiers in one spot. Just because you see it as difficult, doesn't mean they couldn't do it.

I doubt the official story a whole lot. I don't know when or how many, or even if it happened at all. Bit these highly spurious and subjective arguments carry little weight for me.
 

VonKitty

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I totally agree. These numbers are just too great to be believable.
They say 20,000 horses died of thirst and starvation, which most were eaten.
Can you imagine how long it takes to butcher a horse? And they butchered nearly 20,000?? Plus you have 20,000 horse carcasses strewn along the way...
 

ISeenItFirst

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I totally agree. These numbers are just too great to be believable.
They say 20,000 horses died of thirst and starvation, which most were eaten.
Can you imagine how long it takes to butcher a horse? And they butchered nearly 20,000?? Plus you have 20,000 horse carcasses strewn along the way...
Carcasses? No carcasses. Soup. Glue. Bone meal. Bone Ash.
Waste? No waste. Fuel, fertilizer, compost, French method gunpowder production.

No resources can go to waste. Hundreds of thousands of transients would be involved, mostly for the hope of profit, to supply or receive resources.

There are going to be people all along the way, and the ones that aren't super stoked on you when they see you, are sure gonna pretend like they are.

Also, I have a problem with the carriage math, KD. You give the horses a lot of credit with the pulling 1K pounds, but that number is already given. 10% percent of their body weight, for a figure of 165-175 pounds draft. We also have a given of 300-400 pounds draft for a fully loaded wagon. We need to give the credit where it is due here, which it to the wagon wheel. So from this, we can safely assume two horses can pull a fully loaded wagon at least 8 hours a day. What we need to know, is what a fully loaded wagon weighs. I do not know, but the final result above would have this at 2K pounds, which may be quite a conservative estimate. I can push a car way over 2K pounds myself on flat ground. I do not know if a 20K pound wagon is reasonable or not, but that would decrease the number of total wagons needed by a factor of 10.

Of course, we would also have to give a number to % of horses designated for officers to ride, and cavalry units as well.
 

VonKitty

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Albrecht Adam was an artist that accompanied them on the march. He sketched scenes and wrote memoirs along the way, later painting the images. I’m sure it could provide some insight to their journey, though there could be a bit of propaganda there. 😉
Anyway, here’s a link that depicts a few of his paintings and descriptions:

Albrecht Adam | Napoleon in Russia | Page 2

Fun topic to research, but now I really must get back to work.
 

jd755

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Sounds like a whole lot of assumptions to me. Nothing based on fact.

Some of it is just laughable. The head can inform the middle of everything. Just tell the guy behind you. Or just let him see for himself. Or did you think if the front guy stops you d have a pile of 90,000 soldiers in one spot. Just because you see it as difficult, doesn't mean they couldn't do it.

I doubt the official story a whole lot. I don't know when or how many, or even if it happened at all. Bit these highly spurious and subjective arguments carry little weight for me.
Fair enough.
Where should I look to get hold of the facts?
Asking because I genuinely don't know what is a source of trustworthy facts.
As to your questions.
Of course they could do it but not by each guy turning round far too slow and prone to mishearing/mickey taking etc but by gallopers going against the direction of flow or by bugler/trumpeter with every regiment/battalion announcing a halt back down the line but over such lengthy line of march it would take some co-ordination. Easy when setting off, after a few hundred miles and many days of walking not so sure.
I have been stuck in three lanes of static traffic presuming there had been an accident up ahead only to find there was no accident just the sheer weight of numbers bringing the rear of the jam to a standstill.
I have been in the crowd at a few rugby games where the ground is full to capacity of around 11,000 people and with four exits open those furthest away from the exit cannot move until a sufficient number of those nearest the exit start leaving freeing space for the middle to move into literally a slow moving wave. When approaching the exit there is stand and shuffle as the flow of bodies pass through it. It is only those who are at the rear can leave at a normal walking place.
These two experiences were my basis for making the argument along with my reading of another sporting event I didn't attend but read about called the Hillsborough Disaster a football game where 96 people were crushed to death, and around 750 injured, against a fence by the forward motion of weight of bodies surging forwards through three gate and despite the cops radioing to those at the gate nothing could be done to stop the surge. And this was done by around five thousand moving at a brisk walk so not dissimilar speed to a marching column, to me at least.

From here Adam Albrecht | Soldiers on the road to Lianvawitschi, 14th of August 1812 (Napoleon's Russian Campaign) (1838) | MutualArt

With thanks to vonkitty.

4ecb64aa-4adb-4cb5-bbcc-5cd89f58670c.Jpeg

Soldiers on the road to Lianvawitschi, 14th of August 1812 (Napoleon's Russian Campaign), 1838

If that is true to the recall of the scene as it was painted some years after then what to make of its content?


Another thing jumped out at me from Adam's pictures on that site. Horses, throw shoes for a variety of reasons, as mentioned by friends who kept shires and show jumpers so again not my experience but related by people who know, and it occurred to me how many blacksmiths did Napoleon have with his army.
Duckduckgo didn't provide an answer but this site appeared;

Civilians in Napoleon's Grand Army when he invaded Russia

Which led to this one;
Napoleon’s Ruinous Retreat from Russia…

Whose author had this to say;
For nearly a year, Napoleon had been planning the invasion of Russia–ever since Russia had quietly reopened her ports to British ships and trade in 1811. (This really pissed him off.) And during that time he had amassed one of the largest land armies ever seen–the Grande Armee–the Great Army.

The recruiting officers had been busier than ever, squeezing the hated ‘blood tax’ out of the peoples across Europe; more than one year’s class of conscripts had been mobilised. Allies too had been forced to send troops–Bavaria, Westphalia, Saxony, Italy, Holland…50,000 troops from Poland…

And the sum of troops for this expedition? On paper, at least 450,000 troops. (Some military experts put the number much higher–all the way up at 650,000. Though the estimates of Russian spies of the time is around the 450,000 mark.)

Nor does this take into account the hordes of accompanying civilians. Napoleon’s household alone contained some 100 to 150 civilians–butchers, cooks, vintners, bakers, saddlers, blacksmiths, laundresses…And many of Napoleon’s generals also had large ‘households’ which accompanied them into occupied territory. Then there are the thousands of soldiers who brought their wives and children; there are the bakers, saddlers, blacksmiths, brandy-sellers, and camp followers…some 50,000 people, is the conservative estimate of the number of civilians.

And for months before the invasion began at the end of June 1812, this vast swarm of humanity–more than half the population of London at the time, it was–amassed in Prussia and Poland. Oh, and don’t forget the 450,000 horses in readiness for the beginning of the Polish Campaign as it was called. (Napoleon hadn’t yet officially announced it as a plan to invade Russia.)

But already there were problems.
Europe was in the grip of a period of exceedingly cold winters which lasted well beyond their usual allotted time. So, across Prussia and Poland, in those stretches of land where Napoleon had his armies camped in readiness for his arrival, the harvest–that harvest which was meant to feed this vast army of men and horses–wasn’t ripe. It was still too green. So the horses fed upon it and died, in their thousands, of colic.


And also this site; Biography of Napoleon Bonaparte, Great Military Commander

Whose author had this to say;
In 1812 Napoleon went to war with Russia, assembling a force of over 400,000 soldiers, accompanied by the same number of followers and support. Such an army was almost impossible to feed or adequately control and the Russians repeatedly retreated, destroying the local resources and separating Napoleon's army from its supplies.
 
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BrokenAgate

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For me, the biggest issue is the physical and mental condition of both soldiers and horses upon arrival in an unfamiliar land after a strenuous, 1000-mile trek. Marching uphill and down, over rocks and fields, along roads that turned muddy and shitty, in all kinds of weather, sweating, straining, suffering who knows what sorts of injuries and ailments....after all that, would the soldiers be in any condition to fight a prolonged war? What would be their chances of winning against an army that didn't have to march and suffer at all, but could simply hang about, playing poker and entertaining camp hookers, until the invading army arrived at their doorstep? They would be healthier, fitter, stronger, and so would their horses.

Well, according to this article, Napoleon's guys didn't do so well. Most of them died or deserted, or were injured and had to be left along the supply line, or were captured. That left him with 100,000 troops to fight with, all in piss-poor condition. And THEN they had to cross a freezing-cold river! "Emboldened by the defeat, Austria, Prussia and Sweden re-joined Russia and Great Britain in the fight against Napoleon. " Why bother? Had they waited a bit longer, the remainder of Napoleon's army would have deserted, or been dead of starvation, disease, and injury. If Bonaparte was such a great general, why could he not have foreseen all of this? What, exactly, did he expect was going to happen? Was he really a mad general with delusions of grandeur, or was something else going on? Did the events even happen at all?

And then there was that weird, early winter that mysteriously set in. It's not the only mention of unusual weather events; we can read, at the Albrecht Adam page, about a torrential rain storm that held them up, too, "even though they were but three miles from Imperial Headquarters." These weather anomalies seem to be common in warfare. In fact, Sylvie Ivanova, in one of her videos (sorry, can't remember which one), mentioned how rain seems to occur on battlefields all the time. She speculated that maybe it's due to the psychic energy given off by the people involved, and maybe this is true; or maybe the wars of the past were not what we have been told, and some sort of weather-altering weapons were in use in a time when high tech was still around.
 

jd755

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The bloke carry the calf and leading the goats looked to me like a dismounted cavalryman on account of his uniform mainly the boots and indeed he is a cavalryman without a horse. Given there is another sat in the cart this picture must have been after the Fight on Krasnoi according to this site; Timeline of the Napoleonic era - 1812 - Napoleon & Empire
14 August 1812 – Passage of the River Dnieper. Fight of Krasnoi.

But now it gets truly weird.
According to this sites author; German Soldiers in Russia, 1812: Introductory Text

Supply problems began almost immediately. Napoleon had ordered the preparation of large supply depots on Polish territory. Some 25,000 wagons and 90,000 animals hauled ammunition, food, portable ovens and mills forward. Herds of livestock were also driven the wake of the army. The poor condition of the Russian roads, however, made bringing the goods up to the army difficult and the supply train could not keep pace with the advancing troops. Inadequate supplies meant that the troops had to fall back on foraging from the local countryside. Russia, however, was sparsely populated and villages often far removed from each other.
The Russian army also adopted a scorched earth tactic as it retreated in face of the Grande Armée, stripping the land of supplies and burning villages in its wake. Supplies were difficult to find in this devastated landscape and foraging parties were forced to range further and further afield. Desperation, fear of attack by partisans or Cossack bands and a belief in the semi-civilised nature of the Russians drove extreme violence by the soldiers. Tales of pillage, rape and the desecration of churches were common. Attempts were made to curb the pillaging by executing perpetrators, but these actions had little impact in the desperate circumstances. Desertion and suicide were commonplace.


But that isn't the weird thing, this picture is. Also by Adam!
James_3.jpg

Albrecht Adam (1786-1862), On the road to Lianvawitschi ('Sur la route vers Lianvawitschi le 14 Aout'), (1812)
 

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