What Happened During the French Invasion of Russia?

Subject: History
Pages: 2
Words: 305
Reading time:
2 min

The French Invasion of Russia represented a turning point in the Napoleonic Wars, which turned out to be dramatic for the French. It occurred in 1812, when the Grande Army, led by Napoleon Bonaparte, invaded Russian territory through the Neman River.


By 1812, Napoleon’s power was unquestionable on the territories of continental Europe. On June 24, 1812, he led a large army that included more than 500,000 troops to Russia, the present area of Poland, intending to invade the country. The Russian army did not want to engage with the French forces, and its members retreated into the other Russian territories. The Grande Army was moving further, but the military members did not expect that the march will be so long. Besides, they were not prepared for the harsh Russian winter. The shortage of supplies, in combination with unfavorable and poor conditions along the road, significantly weakened the army led by Napoleon.

One of the most significant dates during the war of 1812 was the Battle of Borodino that occurred on September 7. On that day, both the Grande Army and the Russian Imperial army lost thousands of men. When, on September 14, Napoleon with the army, entered Moscow, the whole city was evacuated. After the burning of Moscow, the French still did not receive the Russian capitulation and were forced out of the city. At this point, in the middle of October, Napoleon began his long retreat. There were no ways to supply the army, the remaining horses were weakened, and the elements of the Grande Army were defeated in Vyazma, Krasnoi, and Polotsk.

The last catastrophe for the French happened at the Berezina river, where the Russians defeated the remnants of the army. On December 14, 1812, those who were left from the Grande Army were expelled from the Russian territories.