WI Napoleon successfully invaded Russia 1812

what if in the 1812 French invasion of Russia instead of retreating into the interior, the Russian army had actually offered battle to Napoleon invading army leading to their defeat and destruction of a large part of the Russian armies in the field and forced the tsar to negotiate with napoleon? What kind of peace are we looking at and what does that mean for the rest of Europe specially Spain where Wellington is forcing the French army supporting napoleon brother Joseph as king of Spain back ?
 
Napoleon's issue in Russia was resources, and increasingly, the weather. Those will force Napoleon out if Alexander does not negotiate. And even with another big tactical victory on the level of Borodino, Alexander doesn't have much reason to negotiate. The Russians are aware of the French position.

Basically, the entire set of assumptions behind Napoleon's campaign against Russia was flawed. Beating the Russians into a retreat didn't work. Taking Moscow didn't work. Offering negotiations from a (temporarily) stronger position didn't even get a response. I don't think another battle will change that, but the Russians would be foolish to waste the troops.
 
Yes,

Taking only half the troops than the actual Grand Army would make logistics much more manageable. Then sticking to the two years campaign plan and only going to territories where Polish aristocrats were and could potentially be counted on to procure the needed ressources during the winter, which means Lithuania and Ukraine (Smolensk would be the maximum extent). With the stated goal of restoring the PLC territory, Polish nobles might chose to join the side of their brethren from the duchy of Warsaw.

Without the overwhelming numerical superiority of the French army and with its territory slowly chipped away in favour of a restored PLC that is going to be a fierce enemy for Russia in the future, this might be just enough to goad the Russian army to accept the fight and try a counter offensive (there was in OTL a faction advocating for that even before the French army got trapped in Moscow. In the alternative scenario, russian generals might try to beat the French forces that are bound to be somewhat dispersed ).

Of course, this means that Napoleon still has it in him to win such a fight against a reformed Russian army without the advantage of numerical superiority and in hostile terrain. A lot of risk for the French but I'd say it's a toss-up.
 
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Napoleon wanted a decisive battle quickly, because he needed a confidence and prestige boost after Spain had become a mess. That’s why he couldn’t do a two-year campaign and felt the need to pursue deep into Russia with the entire army.

If either Spain had gone better (which I believe is fully possible it could have) or the Russians actually had given an early battle which France won, then Napoleon wouldn’t be as stressed and could take it slower.

Would that be enough to defeat Russia? Well maybe. Nothing’s guaranteed but it could probably at least make Alexander negotiate, with an enlarged Poland probably on the table.
 
Yes,

Taking only half the troops than the actual Grand Army would make logistics much more manageable. Then sticking to the two years campaign plan and only going to territories where Polish aristocrats were and could potentially be counted on to procure the needed ressources during the winter, which means Lithuania and Ukraine (Smolensk would be the maximum extent). With the stated goal of restoring the PLC territory, Polish nobles might chose to join the side of their brethren from the duchy of Warsaw.

Without the overwhelming numerical superiority of the French army and with its territory slowly chipped away in favour of a restored PLC that is going to be a fierce enemy for Russia in the future, this might be just enough to goad the Russian army to accept the right and try a counter offensive (there was in OTL a faction advocating for that even before the French army got trapped in Moscow. In the alternative scenario, russian generals might tried to beat the French forces that are bound to be somewhat dispersed ).

Of course, this means that Napoleon still has it in him to win such a fight against a reformed Russian army without the advantage of numerical superiority and in hostile terrain. A lot of risk for the French but I'd say it's a toss-up.
Clausewitz provided analysis of 2 years campaign and same to the conclusion that it would still result in a failure.

How by getting toward Smolensk Nappy could end up occupying Ukraine is anybody’s guess and as far as Poland was involved, there was plenty of enthusiasm and very little in the terms of supplies. The country was poor to start with and exhausted by the previous wars and extensive mobilization: the Duchy raised troops in the numbers seemingly disproportional to the size of its population (by the contemporary standards) and the peasants called to service are not producing food. Even before the campaign started the supply problems had been evident to the officers of the contingents marching from Germany to Poland. So during the winter Nappy would have to spread his forces and heavily rely upon the local foraging with the increasing risk of these smaller units being attacked and destroyed one by one. He got similar situation during campaign in East Prussia but on a lesser scale, with the shorter distances and not yet modernized Russian army. In 1812 the differences could be critical.


Adding Lithuania to the Duchy of Warsaw would not improve things noticeably by the same reason: not a rich area.The same goes for Belorussia (plus absence of any local enthusiasm).

Using only a half of the OTL force would mean that the campaign is doomed from the very beginning because the numbers are not big enough to intimidate Alexander at the start of campaign and none of the main factors leading to the shrinking of the numbers would be eliminated: exhaustion, diseases, need to leave the garrisons, etc. With 100,000 in Moscow Napoleon was not considered a threat. With 50 - 70,000 he would be a nuisance.
 
It is difficult to speculate about what course history could have taken with certainty but AFAIK, Russia owed a huge debt of gratitude to Barclay de Tolly.

The Russian defensive plan was to unit both Western armies (under Barclay de Tolly and Bagration) and fight a battle near the border to protect Russia. After realising just how big the Grand Army was, Barclay withdrew instead and this eventually turned into the famous scorched earth strategy of popular myth. The retreat however was hugely unpopular amongst the other Russian generals and soldiers, especially Bagration. Barclay was eventually sacked and replaced by Kutuzov who realised the same; the multi-national Grand Army was simply too strong to fight. Only when weakened by starvation and sickness did it became feasible to fight Napoleon and even then Kutuzov would have preferred retreating even further but Moscow had to be seen to be defended as political support for the Tsar was wavering as his armies withdrew without a battle. It is easy in hindsight to say that was a winning strategy but the people only saw their own troops retreating, giving up Russian land to invaders.

If Barclay had been less staunch in his convictions or if Bagration had been in command, the bulk of the Russian Army would likely have been annihilated close to the border (which pretty much happened in 1941). After that, it’s anyone’s guess.

Russia had a history of violent coups and books about Alexander show he feared assassination and that the long retreat in 1812 undermined his authority. Most likely, he would be replaced by some other Romanov, perhaps his more belligerent brother Constantine.

Russia’s existential threat was a triumphant Poland which had once ruled much of the territory now claimed by Russia. If Napoleon threatened to recreate the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth unless Alexander accepted peace after winning his border battle, I personally feel Alexander and the Russian elite would consider that a lesser evil. Especially since they would require at least a year to rebuild their armies. Time which Napoleon could use to form his new Polish super state.

It was only because Napoleon didn’t get his border battle that he followed the Russians deeper into Russia. He tried several times to outflank them and get his cherished battle. Marching to Moscow or St Petersburg was never the plan but because he got neither a battle or peace feelers a baffled Napoleon couldn’t come up with anything better than keep marching onwards.

Historically, by the time Moscow burned down, Alexander had found his inner strength and an almost messianic fervour to defeat Napoleon, probably brought on by the invasion and devastation of his Empire. If that hadn’t happened, a peace of some kind was likely unless Napoleon got too greedy IMO.
 
Napoleon wanted a decisive battle quickly, because he needed a confidence and prestige boost after Spain had become a mess.
I don't know that he needed a boost ; his régime at this point seemed stable domestically and he now had an heir. I think he simply did not want to fight a long campaign. He had always favored quick, decisive actions.
 
I don't know that he needed a boost ; his régime at this point seemed stable domestically and he now had an heir. I think he simply did not want to fight a long campaign. He had always favored quick, decisive actions.
Defeats like Bailén was quickly destroying the almost mythic image of the French army as unbeatable in the field. If he didn’t reassert himself he feared that his old enemies like Prussia and Austria would be emboldened to try Again with a new coalition.
 
Defeats like Bailén was quickly destroying the almost mythic image of the French army as unbeatable in the field. If he didn’t reassert himself he feared that his old enemies like Prussia and Austria would be emboldened to try Again with a new coalition.
That was four years previous. He followed it up by personally intervening in Spain and recapturing Madrid. Austria did try the following year but was defeated at Wagram, and the British invasion of Walcheren also failed.

In 1812, Joseph's rule in Spain was beginning to slip but otherwise there was no particular reason to believe that Napoléon's own throne was in any jeopardy. The disaster in Russia created a crisis that had not existed before.
 
I don't know that he needed a boost ; his régime at this point seemed stable domestically and he now had an heir. I think he simply did not want to fight a long campaign. He had always favored quick, decisive actions.
He did not need a boost but he needed a short victorious campaign.
 
It is difficult to speculate about what course history could have taken with certainty but AFAIK, Russia owed a huge debt of gratitude to Barclay de Tolly.

The Russian defensive plan was to unit both Western armies (under Barclay de Tolly and Bagration) and fight a battle near the border to protect Russia. After realising just how big the Grand Army was, Barclay withdrew instead and this eventually turned into the famous scorched earth strategy of popular myth. The retreat however was hugely unpopular amongst the other Russian generals and soldiers, especially Bagration. Barclay was eventually sacked and replaced by Kutuzov who realised the same; the multi-national Grand Army was simply too strong to fight. Only when weakened by starvation and sickness did it became feasible to fight Napoleon and even then Kutuzov would have preferred retreating even further but Moscow had to be seen to be defended as political support for the Tsar was wavering as his armies withdrew without a battle. It is easy in hindsight to say that was a winning strategy but the people only saw their own troops retreating, giving up Russian land to invaders.

If Barclay had been less staunch in his convictions or if Bagration had been in command, the bulk of the Russian Army would likely have been annihilated close to the border (which pretty much happened in 1941). After that, it’s anyone’s guess.

Russia had a history of violent coups and books about Alexander show he feared assassination and that the long retreat in 1812 undermined his authority. Most likely, he would be replaced by some other Romanov, perhaps his more belligerent brother Constantine.

Russia’s existential threat was a triumphant Poland which had once ruled much of the territory now claimed by Russia. If Napoleon threatened to recreate the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth unless Alexander accepted peace after winning his border battle, I personally feel Alexander and the Russian elite would consider that a lesser evil. Especially since they would require at least a year to rebuild their armies. Time which Napoleon could use to form his new Polish super state.

It was only because Napoleon didn’t get his border battle that he followed the Russians deeper into Russia. He tried several times to outflank them and get his cherished battle. Marching to Moscow or St Petersburg was never the plan but because he got neither a battle or peace feelers a baffled Napoleon couldn’t come up with anything better than keep marching onwards.

Historically, by the time Moscow burned down, Alexander had found his inner strength and an almost messianic fervour to defeat Napoleon, probably brought on by the invasion and devastation of his Empire. If that hadn’t happened, a peace of some kind was likely unless Napoleon got too greedy IMO.
Was Constantine baligetent? I thought he was part of the pro france, pro peace party in russia.
The rest of this i agree whit, pluse if the emporer had had a little more spine at the beginning of the campaign then he would have ordered Barclay to fight at the border (and get crushed) as it was Alexander was nervous enough to be convinced otherwise, something that dint happened at any other point in the Napoleonic wars (including lader in the same campaign).
 
Was Constantine baligetent? I thought he was part of the pro france, pro peace party in russia.
From where did you get that idea? He was one of the most vocal members of the “Russian party“ all the way to publicly calling Barclay a traitor. For which Barclay removed him from the army.
 
From where did you get that idea? He was one of the most vocal members of the “Russian party“ all the way to publicly calling Barclay a traitor. For which Barclay removed him from the army.
"After the peace of Tilsit he became an ardent admirer of Napoleon and an upholder of the Russo-French alliance. He therefore lost the confidence of his brother Alexander; to the latter, the French alliance was merely a means to an end. This view was not held by Konstantin; even in 1812, after the fall of Moscow, he pressed for a speedy conclusion of peace with Napoleon, and, like field marshal Kutuzov, he too opposed the policy which carried the war across the Russian frontier to victorious conclusion upon French soil."
Zamoyski, Adam. 1812 – Napoleon's Fatal March on Moscow. pp. 121 and 403
Seems he was exactly the opposite of what you are thinking.
 
"After the peace of Tilsit he became an ardent admirer of Napoleon and an upholder of the Russo-French alliance. He therefore lost the confidence of his brother Alexander; to the latter, the French alliance was merely a means to an end. This view was not held by Konstantin; even in 1812, after the fall of Moscow, he pressed for a speedy conclusion of peace with Napoleon, and, like field marshal Kutuzov, he too opposed the policy which carried the war across the Russian frontier to victorious conclusion upon French soil."
Zamoyski, Adam. 1812 – Napoleon's Fatal March on Moscow. pp. 121 and 403
Seems he was exactly the opposite of what you are thinking.
Irrelevant - conversation was about the initial stage of the 1812 campaign and his record for this period is absolutely clear: he was siding with Bagration and publicly accusing Barclay of treason for his orders to keep retreating. For which behavior Barclay sent him out of the army in a rather abrupt fashion. His behavior and the final episode are well documented by the people present (and by the official records) and not a subject to the disputation.

Zamoyski is not an ultimate authority on the 1812 and, anyway, he clearly writes about the periods before and after one about I’m talking.
 
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Irrelevant - conversation was about the initial stage of the 1812 campaign and his record for this period is absolutely clear: he was siding with Bagration and publicly accusing Barclay of treason for his orders to keep retreating. For which behavior Barclay sent him out of the army in a rather abrupt fashion. His behavior and the final episode are well documented by the people present (and by the official records) and not a subject to the disputation.

Zamoyski is not an ultimate authority on the 1812 and, anyway, he clearly writes about the periods before and after one about I’m talking.
But why dose he think one way before the war, change during the first part of the war, then goes right back to the to the way he thought to begin with? Seems to me that if he thought one way before the war, and thought the same during the last part of the war, then its reasonable to think he thought the same during the war as well. Also Zamoyski quite clearly talks about the part of the war wher talking about.
 
But why dose he think one way before the war, change during the first part of the war, then goes right back to the to the way he thought to begin with? Seems to me that if he thought one way before the war, and thought the same during the last part of the war, then its reasonable to think he thought the same during the war as well. Also Zamoyski quite clearly talks about the part of the war wher talking about.
To answer to your first question, Constantine was a mental case so why he held a specific opinion at some specific moment nobody can tell for sure. What seems reasonable to you is absolutely irrelevant because Constantine’s behavior during the 1st part of campaign is a matter of the public knowledge and record: it is well-documented all the way to him being thrown out of the 1st Army by Barclay, which was a documented official act. Now, you may spent some time trying to figure out for which type of behavior a commander of the Russian Guards who is also a Grand Duke and heir to the throne can be expelled from the fighting army in a very public episode involving him being addressed not as “Your Highness” but simply as “general”: “you, general, must obey my order”. Order in question was to give up his command, leave the army and go to St-Petersburg to explain his behavior to the Emperor.

And, not that it matters, but Zamoyski clearly talks about period prior to the war and after Borodino: “even in 1812, after the fall of Moscow,” Anyway, Zamoyski is mostly relevant as presenting the French side of the events.
 
To answer to your first question, Constantine was a mental case so why he held a specific opinion at some specific moment nobody can tell for sure.
And, not that it matters, but Zamoyski clearly talks about period prior to the war and after Borodino: “even in 1812, after the fall of Moscow,” Anyway, Zamoyski is mostly relevant as presenting the French side of the events.
What, I would really like an actual sores where Constantine was considered in any way mentally unstable, like seriously everything i have read on this has Alexander as the much more mentally unbalanced brother, I have no idea how you got that idea.
Also ya shure at lest I have provided a s sores by a accredited historian.
 
What, I would really like an actual sores where Constantine was considered in any way mentally unstable, like seriously everything i have read on this has Alexander as the much more mentally unbalanced brother, I have no idea how you got that idea.
Also ya shure at lest I have provided a s sores by a accredited historian.
It is getting boring because you clearly don’t want to understand what you are being told. After Tilsit Constantin joined pro-French party, nobody argues against that because this is a known fact. However, when the war started, he joined the group of the general who insisted on fighting Napoleon instead of retreating. Due to his social status he became one of the leaders of that group and felt himself absolutely free not just openly criticize Barclay but to accuse him in treason and cowardice. For this he was expelled from the army and returned only hen the Russians had been at Vilna. These are facts which can be easily found even on Wiki. If you are not aware of them, probably you have to read something besides a single book. For example any of Barclay’s biographies (take one by Нечаев) or some description of the campaign of 1812 written from the Russian perspective. Or Constantine’s biography at http://az.lib.ru/k/karnowich_e_p/text_1878_konstantin.shtml

As for his mental conditions, this is again a common knowledge: he was absolutely incapable of controlling his temper. There are plenty of references to this effect from his relatives and contemporaries who knew him:
Alexander:
"Я очень счастлив с женой и с невесткой, но что касается до мужа сей последней, то он меня часто огорчает; он горяч более, чем когда-либо, весьма своеволен и часто прихоти его не согласуются с разумом"

Catherine:
Я хотела сегодня говорить с моим сыном и рассказать ему всё дурное поведение Константина Павловича, дабы всем родом сделать общее дело противу вертопраха и его унять. Мне известно бесчинное, бесчестное и непристойное поведение его в доме генерал-прокурора, где он не оставлял ни мужчину, ни женщину без позорного ругательства, даже обнаружил и к вам неблагодарность, понося вас и жену вашу, что столь нагло и постыдно и бессовестно им произнесено было, что не токмо многие из наших, но даже и шведы без соблазна, содрогания и омерзения слышать не могли. Сверх того, он со всякою подлостью везде, даже и по улицам, обращается с такою непристойной фамильярностью, что я того и смотрю, что его где не есть прибьют к стыду и крайней неприятности."

Denis Davidov: “цесаревич, в коем нередко проявлялось расстройство рассудка, имел много сходственного с отцом своим, с тем однако различием, что умственное повреждение императора Павла, которому нельзя было отказать в замечательных способностях и рыцарском благородстве, было последствием тех ужасных обстоятельств, среди которых протекла его молодость, и полного недостатка в воспитании, а у цесаревича, коего образованием также весьма мало занимались, оно, по-видимому, было наследственным.”
 
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