The Russian army refused to engage with Napoleon’s Grande Armée of more than 500,000 European troops. They simply retreated into the Russian interior. The Grande Armée did not have the supplies or the distribution networks required for such a long march. French strategists assumed the Grande Armée would be supplied by wagons, or would be able to gather supplies as they went. Russian roads, however, were in very poor condition, making it very difficult to transport supplies. The Grande Armée also failed to prepare for Russia’s harsh winter. Its troops were not dressed or trained for the kind of weather they faced.
The invasion lasted six months, and the Grande Armée lost more than 300,000 men. Russia lost more than 200,000. A single battle (the Battle of Borodino) resulted in more than 70,000 casualties in one day. The invasion of Russia effectively halted Napoleon’s march across Europe, and resulted in his first exile, to the Mediterranean island of Elba.
Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry disaster Noun
terrible and damaging event.
the way something is spread out over an area.
Encyclopedic Entry: distribution emperor Noun
ruler of an empire.
to become actively involved with something.
forced ejection from a country, or a person who feels forced to leave.
an attack or move to take possession.
Napoleon Bonaparte Noun
(1769-1821) military general and emperor of France.
to move material from one place to another.
state of the atmosphere, including temperature, atmospheric pressure, wind, humidity, precipitation, and cloudiness.
Encyclopedic Entry: weather