Borodino 1812, Napoleon's Great Gamble, Philip Haythornthwaite

Borodino 1812, Napoleon's Great Gamble, Philip Haythornthwaite

Campaign 246

Although the title would suggest that the main focus of this book is the battle of Borodino, the battle itself only takes up about a third of the book (33 out of 96 pages). I think this is about right in a book aimed at the general reader - on a grand level the battle wasn't that complex, something that is often hidden behind an overwhelming bulk of detail in longer books.

The rest of the book looks at the wider campaign, from the breakdown in relationships between the Tsar and Napoleon to the disastrous retreat from Moscow. There is a useful selection of potted biographies of the main commanders on both sides, a description of the two armies and their plans, a good account of the campaign from the start of the invasion to the battle of Borodino, the advance to Moscow and then the disastrous retreat that destroyed most of the Grande Armée.

The book is illustrated to Osprey's normal high standard, with some excellent campaign and battle maps and a good selection of contemporary illustrations. This is a clearly written account of a battle that failed to produce the crushing victory required by Napoleon, and that thus became a stepping stone on the road to the destruction of the Grande Armée.

The Road to Borodino
Opposing Commanders
Opposing Plans and Forces
The Invasion
The Battle of Borodino
The End of the Campaign
The Battlefield Today

Author: Philip Haythornthwaite
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 96
Publisher: Osprey
Year: 2012

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