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calendar   Thursday - June 24, 2004

Daily Dose

Quote Of The Day

"At times one remains faithful to a cause only because its opponents do not cease to be insipid."
-- Friedrich Nietzsche


On This Day In History

June 24, 1812 - Napoleon Invades Russia
Following the rejection of his Continental System by Czar Alexander I, French Emperor Napoleon orders his Grande Armýe, the largest European military force ever assembled to that date, into Russia. The enormous army, featuring some 500,000 soldiers and staff, included troops from all the European countries under the sway of the French Empire.

During the opening months of the invasion, Napoleon was forced to contend with a bitter Russian army in perpetual retreat. Refusing to engage Napoleon's superior army in a full-scale confrontation, the Russians under General Mikhail Kutuzov burned everything behind them as they retreated deeper and deeper into Russia. On September 7, the indecisive Battle of Borodino was fought, in which both sides suffered terrible losses. On September 14, Napoleon arrived in Moscow intending to find supplies but instead found almost the entire population evacuated, and the Russian army retreated again. Early the next morning, fires broke across the city, set by Russian patriots, and the Grande Armýe's winter quarters were destroyed. After waiting a month for a surrender that never came, Napoleon, faced with the onset of the Russian winter, was forced to order his starving army out of Moscow.

During the disastrous retreat, Napoleon's army suffered continual harassment from a suddenly aggressive and merciless Russian army. Stalked by hunger and the deadly lances of the Cossacks, the decimated army reached the Berezina River late in November, but found their way blocked by the Russians. On November 27, Napoleon forced a way across at Studenka, and when the bulk of his army passed the river two days later, he was forced to burn his makeshift bridges behind him, stranding some 10,000 stragglers on the other side. From there, the retreat became a rout, and on December 8 Napoleon left what remained of his army to return to Paris. Six days later, the Grande Armýe finally escaped Russia, having suffered a loss of more than 400,000 men during the disastrous invasion.


Editor's Note: This proved to be not one but two of the Top Three Worst Military Plans of all time, which include ....
1. "Let's invade Russia in the winter"
2. "Let's pull a sneak attack on America"
3. "Let's let the French handle it"



Today's Birthdays

Jack Dempsey, American boxer (1895)
Ambrose Bierce, American satirist & journalist (1842)


Thanks to The Quotations Page - The History Channel - The Biography Channel.
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Posted by The Skipper   United States  on 06/24/2004 at 05:31 AM   
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Not that very many people ever read this far down, but this blog was the creation of Allan Kelly and his friend Vilmar. Vilmar moved on to his own blog some time ago, and Allan ran this place alone until his sudden and unexpected death partway through 2006. We all miss him. A lot. Even though he is gone this site will always still be more than a little bit his. We who are left to carry on the BMEWS tradition owe him a great debt of gratitude, and we hope to be able to pay that back by following his last advice to us all:
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Oh, and here's some kind of visitor flag counter thingy. Hey, all the cool blogs have one, so I should too. The Visitors Online thingy up at the top doesn't count anything, but it looks neat. It had better, since I paid actual money for it.
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