October 6, 2013 cameron

3D-scanning Napoleon’s battlefield at Borodino

Image (c) Artec 3D

From the website of Artec3D:

Marking the 200th anniversary of that battle, the Russian Academy of Sciences, commissioned Artec to help with excavation and documentation of the battle field. Artec was tasked with scanning all human and battle-horse remains. The job was not for the faint-of-heart. One of our tech nearly fainted. But we persevered…

I heard about it via Skeptoid (and thanks to Mark Hellewell for bringing it to my attention) who was kind enough to give David & I get a mention:

Even though Napoleon technically won, it was far from being a decisive victory. Napoleon afterwards went on to occupy Moskou, but eventually had to retreat. This “strategic withdrawal“, as David Markham and Cameron Reilly called it in their Napoleon Bonaparte podcast, was in fact a complete disaster, resulting in the “Grande Armee” being decimated. On his way back, the troops had to pass the battlefield they had left only a few weeks earlier, and hardly any corpses had been buried. You can imagine the effect this had on the moral of the French troops and their allies.

Well it WAS a strategic withdrawal. It’s certainly not like the Russians came even close to winning a battle, let alone the war. Napoleon and his troops just decided enough was enough and it was time to return home. I don’t know what else you’d call it.

 

 

Comment (1)

  1. Mickey G

    Saying the Grande Armee was decimated is a mistake. Lets say for argument that Napoleon left Moscow with 100,000 troops. He lost half of these by the time the temperature dropped well before Smolensk, one of his supply depots. He collected another 30,000 at Bolr which gave him 50,000 of which again half perished before he go halfway to Poland from Bolr. The weather once again dropped to -20ºC and he was down to 4,000. Of course he had returned to France by this stage. Another 6,000 joined making the numbers up to 10,000. These extras where his rear guards but including them from Moscow is 136,000 leaving Russia, only 10,000 got out. Rounded figures admittedly but decimation is one in ten. The Grande Armee had over nine in ten lost. This was a total destruction. Of course it wasn’t just the weather, there are factors such as Typhoid, starvation, suicide, battle, insurgents, natural predators such as wolves and bad management. Napoleon was lazy and it cost him his army. He was slow on taking up opportunities, planned poorly and his strategy from the start was foolish.

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