Discussion:
OT Archaeologists on a mass grave in Vilnius on Napoleon’s Grande Armée,
(too old to reply)
SolomonW
2017-07-13 11:50:28 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
I think people here might find this report on Napoleon’s Grande Armée mass
grave recently examined interesting.

It confirms that the winter was cold and it was not exaggerated the
harshness of the winter and that many soldiers died starvation and typhus.

Also surprisingly there were a lot of women with Napoleon’s army.

http://www.helsinki.fi/arkeologia/kurssit/KAR331_Forensinen_sl2008/Jankauskas_1.pdf

http://etd.fcla.edu/CF/CFH0004822/Pelier_Serenela_M_201504_BA.pdf

https://www.forbes.com/sites/kristinakillgrove/2015/07/25/skeletons-of-napoleons-soldiers-in-mass-grave-show-signs-of-starvation/#6dd930183743
jerry kraus
2017-07-13 13:06:59 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by SolomonW
I think people here might find this report on Napoleon’s Grande Armée mass
grave recently examined interesting.
It confirms that the winter was cold and it was not exaggerated the
harshness of the winter and that many soldiers died starvation and typhus.
Also surprisingly there were a lot of women with Napoleon’s army.
http://www.helsinki.fi/arkeologia/kurssit/KAR331_Forensinen_sl2008/Jankauskas_1.pdf
http://etd.fcla.edu/CF/CFH0004822/Pelier_Serenela_M_201504_BA.pdf
https://www.forbes.com/sites/kristinakillgrove/2015/07/25/skeletons-of-napoleons-soldiers-in-mass-grave-show-signs-of-starvation/#6dd930183743
Why were you surprised there were a lot of women with Napoleon's Army, Solomon? Have you never heard of camp followers?

What really interests me is how Napoleon managed to survive when 98% of his army perished. How does that work, exactly? Especially when the Russians are gunning for Napoleon, quite specifically, and Napoleon is considerably older and less healthy than most of his troops.
SolomonW
2017-07-13 15:11:28 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by jerry kraus
Post by SolomonW
I think people here might find this report on Napoleon’s Grande Armée mass
grave recently examined interesting.
It confirms that the winter was cold and it was not exaggerated the
harshness of the winter and that many soldiers died starvation and typhus.
Also surprisingly there were a lot of women with Napoleon’s army.
http://www.helsinki.fi/arkeologia/kurssit/KAR331_Forensinen_sl2008/Jankauskas_1.pdf
http://etd.fcla.edu/CF/CFH0004822/Pelier_Serenela_M_201504_BA.pdf
https://www.forbes.com/sites/kristinakillgrove/2015/07/25/skeletons-of-napoleons-soldiers-in-mass-grave-show-signs-of-starvation/#6dd930183743
Why were you surprised there were a lot of women with Napoleon's Army, Solomon? Have you never heard of camp followers?
There is too masny for that.
Post by jerry kraus
What really interests me is how Napoleon managed to survive when 98% of his army perished. How does that work, exactly? Especially when the Russians are gunning for Napoleon, quite specifically, and Napoleon is considerably older and less healthy than most of his troops.
I doubt Napoleon would have many problems with food or marching.
Alex Milman
2017-07-13 18:23:04 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by SolomonW
Post by jerry kraus
Post by SolomonW
I think people here might find this report on Napoleon’s Grande Armée mass
grave recently examined interesting.
It confirms that the winter was cold and it was not exaggerated the
harshness of the winter and that many soldiers died starvation and typhus.
Also surprisingly there were a lot of women with Napoleon’s army.
http://www.helsinki.fi/arkeologia/kurssit/KAR331_Forensinen_sl2008/Jankauskas_1.pdf
http://etd.fcla.edu/CF/CFH0004822/Pelier_Serenela_M_201504_BA.pdf
https://www.forbes.com/sites/kristinakillgrove/2015/07/25/skeletons-of-napoleons-soldiers-in-mass-grave-show-signs-of-starvation/#6dd930183743
Why were you surprised there were a lot of women with Napoleon's Army, Solomon? Have you never heard of camp followers?
There is too masny for that.
Nope. They were, quite officially, in every battalion.
Post by SolomonW
Post by jerry kraus
What really interests me is how Napoleon managed to survive when 98% of his army perished. How does that work, exactly? Especially when the Russians are gunning for Napoleon, quite specifically, and Napoleon is considerably older and less healthy than most of his troops.
I doubt Napoleon would have many problems with food or marching.
None of his marshals got captured either and Ney was the only one in a real
danger to get on the list.

Of course, Nappy had the best conditions while traveling both "to" and "from"
including an adequate clothing, horses that would not fall on the ice (thanks
to Caulaincourt) and food. Neither was he in a real danger to be captured
thanks to the combination of 2 factors: 1st, Kutuzov was reluctant to go beyond
a simple chasing and 2nd, he was going with the Old Guards (before he left
the army) and the chances of the pursuing light troops to break it were zero.
To be fair, there were couple episodes on the early stages of retreat when
he got close doing resonance with his staff and a small convoy.
Alex Milman
2017-07-13 18:15:11 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by SolomonW
I think people here might find this report on Napoleon’s Grande Armée mass
grave recently examined interesting.
[sight]

It was not "recently", unless 15 years is nothing in your time flow. :-)
Post by SolomonW
It confirms that the winter was cold and it was not exaggerated the
harshness of the winter and that many soldiers died starvation and typhus.
How many times did I have to recommend you to study things before getting
excited? :-)

As usually, you are confused about the issue. NOBODY EVER denied that the
weather was cold at the time WHEN the leftovers of the Great Army reached
Vilno. This is a well-known fact which is probably beyond any reasonable
disputation. You have to get a map and to look at the distance between
Moscow and Vilno and also find out how many days did it take for the Great
Army to get from one point to another.

Even when Napoleon reached Berezina, the ice did not quite set: there was a
need to build a bridge and when people tried to cross river by ice it broke.
Both by the Russian and French accounts weather during most of the way from
Moscow (before reaching Lithuania) was not too different from a winter in
Paris. The problems for the French was that they had not been prepared even
to that: no food, no forage for the horses, the shoes had been worn out by the
time of Borodino Battle, no winter horseshoes had been provided except for the
imperial household, etc.

Actually, short of the horseshoes issue, Russian army was suffering from most
of the listed above problems and had comparable losses on its way westward:
when the weather is slightly below 0C and you don't have adequate footwear and
a good overcoat, and are routinely starving, and have to sleep in a snow near
the camp fire, you are in a BIG trouble. Napoleon's army had been operating
in the summer uniforms (and I'm not sure that they had adequate winter uniforms
to start with) but even the Russian troops were not getting their winter
uniforms (heavy overcoats, woolen trousers, etc.) in time and in the needed
numbers, thus suffering heavy losses from cold. Of course, they had a greater
(but not too great) opportunity to be transported into some inhabitable
places but not too many of those had been left along the route. The French
had been surrendering en mass in the same expectations of being fed and
placed somewhere reasonably comfortable. By the end of the 1812 campaign even
the Russian Guards were not receiving the rations for days and there are
rather bizarre descriptions of what the Russian troops ended up wearing.

AFAIK, nobody ever denied the mass deaths from starvation (actually, there were numerous references to it, both French and Russian) and typhus is what
you have to expect with a prolonged absence of an elementary hygiene. And when
you just pile the sick, dirty, starving people in the congested rooms on a
dirty straw you have the "ideal" conditions for an outbreak.


By the time they reached Vilno, a big percentage of the lucky ones had been
in such a state that they simply could not go anywhere further and, with the
city lacking the necessary accommodations, adequate medical services and supplies and simply enough of food, many of them ended up dead within days.
Actually, at least the 1st article on your list says the same thing that I
wrote above, it is just that you did misunderstood the text by the reason
that I mentioned at the beginning. Of course, claim that 70K made it to
Vilno is probably exaggerated (probably closer to 40K with the stragglers)
but perhaps author(s) had been talking about the summary numbers including
the wings and not just those who came to Vilno.
Post by SolomonW
Also surprisingly there were a lot of women with Napoleon’s army.
Sorry, but if you did not know THIS, you don't know the basics. Of course,
there were plenty of them. Napoleon's army heavily relied on the female
entrepreneurs (vivandières ?) following the troops and providing food and
drink, laundry services, mending the uniforms, giving the rudimentary medical
help, buying the loot, etc. Link http://armflot.ru/index.php/epokha-napoleona/522-markitantki-velikoj-armii will not help you with the description
(unless you recently learned Russian) but it contains a number of contemporary
depictions to illustrate an idea.

Plus, quite a few officers (especially those of a higher rank) took with them
their wives (which means, there were female servants of the wives as well).
Then, on a way back they picked up some French civilians who lived in Moscow
and had reasonable fears about staying there after Grand Army left.
Post by SolomonW
http://www.helsinki.fi/arkeologia/kurssit/KAR331_Forensinen_sl2008/Jankauskas_1.pdf
http://etd.fcla.edu/CF/CFH0004822/Pelier_Serenela_M_201504_BA.pdf
https://www.forbes.com/sites/kristinakillgrove/2015/07/25/skeletons-of-napoleons-soldiers-in-mass-grave-show-signs-of-starvation/#6dd930183743
SolomonW
2017-07-16 00:42:41 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Alex Milman
Post by SolomonW
I think people here might find this report on Napoleon’s Grande Armée mass
grave recently examined interesting.
[sight]
It was not "recently", unless 15 years is nothing in your time flow. :-)
It has just been recently released in the publication of the Archaeological
Institute of America which is why its entering the public view.

http://www.archaeology.org/issues/263-1707/from-the-trenches/5629-trenches-lithuania-grand-army-isotopes
Post by Alex Milman
Post by SolomonW
It confirms that the winter was cold and it was not exaggerated the
harshness of the winter and that many soldiers died starvation and typhus.
How many times did I have to recommend you to study things before getting
excited? :-)
I am a lost cause.
Post by Alex Milman
As usually, you are confused about the issue. NOBODY EVER denied that the
weather was cold at the time WHEN the leftovers of the Great Army reached
Vilno.
There has been a lot of discussion over how cold it actually was, several
have claimed that the cold has been exaggerated. The wikipedia here notes

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_invasion_of_Russia#Weather_as_a_factor

"The Russians considered it a relatively mild winter,"


<..>
Post by Alex Milman
AFAIK, nobody ever denied the mass deaths from starvation (actually, there were numerous references to it, both French and Russian) and typhus is what
you have to expect with a prolonged absence of an elementary hygiene. And when
you just pile the sick, dirty, starving people in the congested rooms on a
dirty straw you have the "ideal" conditions for an outbreak.
Now we have confirmation of this.


<..>
Post by Alex Milman
Post by SolomonW
Also surprisingly there were a lot of women with Napoleon’s army.
Sorry, but if you did not know THIS, you don't know the basics. Of course,
there were plenty of them. Napoleon's army heavily relied on the female
entrepreneurs (vivandières ?) following the troops and providing food and
drink, laundry services, mending the uniforms, giving the rudimentary medical
help, buying the loot, etc. Link http://armflot.ru/index.php/epokha-napoleona/522-markitantki-velikoj-armii will not help you with the description
(unless you recently learned Russian) but it contains a number of contemporary
depictions to illustrate an idea.
Plus, quite a few officers (especially those of a higher rank) took with them
their wives (which means, there were female servants of the wives as well).
Then, on a way back they picked up some French civilians who lived in Moscow
and had reasonable fears about staying there after Grand Army left.
Well this did surprise the archaeologist as well as me.
Post by Alex Milman
Post by SolomonW
http://www.helsinki.fi/arkeologia/kurssit/KAR331_Forensinen_sl2008/Jankauskas_1.pdf
http://etd.fcla.edu/CF/CFH0004822/Pelier_Serenela_M_201504_BA.pdf
https://www.forbes.com/sites/kristinakillgrove/2015/07/25/skeletons-of-napoleons-soldiers-in-mass-grave-show-signs-of-starvation/#6dd930183743
Alex Milman
2017-07-16 03:35:03 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by SolomonW
Post by Alex Milman
Post by SolomonW
I think people here might find this report on Napoleon’s Grande Armée mass
grave recently examined interesting.
[sight]
It was not "recently", unless 15 years is nothing in your time flow. :-)
It has just been recently released in the publication of the Archaeological
Institute of America which is why its entering the public view.
A recalling seeing related documentary years ago on History Channel.
Post by SolomonW
http://www.archaeology.org/issues/263-1707/from-the-trenches/5629-trenches-lithuania-grand-army-isotopes
Post by Alex Milman
Post by SolomonW
It confirms that the winter was cold and it was not exaggerated the
harshness of the winter and that many soldiers died starvation and typhus.
How many times did I have to recommend you to study things before getting
excited? :-)
I am a lost cause.
I know and this is a part of a fun. :-)

BTW, the mass losses of that type were anything but unique in 1812. When the
French entered Smolensk they found huge numbers of the people burned to death:
retreating Russian armies left their wounded in the houses and, thanks to the
French bombardment, mostly wooden city had been burning and these people could
not get out and burned alive. Surviving French descriptions are quite chilling.
Similar thing happened in Moscow and at least one more place.
Post by SolomonW
Post by Alex Milman
As usually, you are confused about the issue. NOBODY EVER denied that the
weather was cold at the time WHEN the leftovers of the Great Army reached
Vilno.
There has been a lot of discussion over how cold it actually was, several
have claimed that the cold has been exaggerated. The wikipedia here notes
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_invasion_of_Russia#Weather_as_a_factor
"The Russians considered it a relatively mild winter,"
I read it. Even French remarked that most of the way it was not too much
different from the winter in Paris but without a food, warm clothing and shelter
you'd die in Paris just as well.

But this relatively mild winter changed to a VERY cold one after the troops
reached Berezina. It was a little bit too early (end of November) but happens
from time to time.
Post by SolomonW
<..>
Post by Alex Milman
AFAIK, nobody ever denied the mass deaths from starvation (actually, there were numerous references to it, both French and Russian) and typhus is what
you have to expect with a prolonged absence of an elementary hygiene. And when
you just pile the sick, dirty, starving people in the congested rooms on a
dirty straw you have the "ideal" conditions for an outbreak.
Now we have confirmation of this.
Well, it was well known that the French lost something like 20K in Vilno, that
there was no great battle to take the city and that French stay there was quite
short (Russian Cossacks approached city next day after the French) so you have
very few options to chose from as an explanation of the huge losses. Removal of
the supernatural ones will live a single option: these people died from
combination of the factors listed above. Of course, why would the scientists
leave the grant money unused and scientific research unpublished? :-)
Post by SolomonW
<..>
Post by Alex Milman
Post by SolomonW
Also surprisingly there were a lot of women with Napoleon’s army.
Sorry, but if you did not know THIS, you don't know the basics. Of course,
there were plenty of them. Napoleon's army heavily relied on the female
entrepreneurs (vivandières ?) following the troops and providing food and
drink, laundry services, mending the uniforms, giving the rudimentary medical
help, buying the loot, etc. Link http://armflot.ru/index.php/epokha-napoleona/522-markitantki-velikoj-armii will not help you with the description
(unless you recently learned Russian) but it contains a number of contemporary
depictions to illustrate an idea.
Plus, quite a few officers (especially those of a higher rank) took with them
their wives (which means, there were female servants of the wives as well).
Then, on a way back they picked up some French civilians who lived in Moscow
and had reasonable fears about staying there after Grand Army left.
Well this did surprise the archaeologist as well as me.
You can be easily excused but one assumes that archeologist should be familiar
with a history, at least on a general level.
Post by SolomonW
Post by Alex Milman
Post by SolomonW
http://www.helsinki.fi/arkeologia/kurssit/KAR331_Forensinen_sl2008/Jankauskas_1.pdf
http://etd.fcla.edu/CF/CFH0004822/Pelier_Serenela_M_201504_BA.pdf
https://www.forbes.com/sites/kristinakillgrove/2015/07/25/skeletons-of-napoleons-soldiers-in-mass-grave-show-signs-of-starvation/#6dd930183743
The Horny Goat
2017-07-17 04:32:20 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
On Sat, 15 Jul 2017 20:35:03 -0700 (PDT), Alex Milman
Post by Alex Milman
I read it. Even French remarked that most of the way it was not too much
different from the winter in Paris but without a food, warm clothing and sh=
elter
you'd die in Paris just as well.
But this relatively mild winter changed to a VERY cold one after the troops
reached Berezina. It was a little bit too early (end of November) but happe=
ns
from time to time.=20
In addition there were French flanking armies (both about corps size)
returning from Riga and the western Ukraine. I don't have army lists
for these but I believe these were almost 100% French.
Alex Milman
2017-07-17 18:32:59 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by The Horny Goat
On Sat, 15 Jul 2017 20:35:03 -0700 (PDT), Alex Milman
Post by Alex Milman
I read it. Even French remarked that most of the way it was not too much
different from the winter in Paris but without a food, warm clothing and sh=
elter
you'd die in Paris just as well.
But this relatively mild winter changed to a VERY cold one after the troops
reached Berezina. It was a little bit too early (end of November) but happe=
ns
from time to time.=20
In addition there were French flanking armies (both about corps size)
returning from Riga and the western Ukraine. I don't have army lists
for these but I believe these were almost 100% French.
The "flanking armies" consisted of:

1. Left flank:

(a) Оn Riga direction: Corps of MacDonald - 32K out of which 20K Prussians who
ended up signing Taurogen Convention with the Russians.

(b) On Polotsk direction: 2nd corps (under Oudinot - Saint-Cyr - Oudinot ).
This one joined the retreating main force and was instrumental at Berezina
(was the 1st to get on the left bank). By the time of Berezina it size shrunk
to 7 - 9K (losses at the 2nd Battle of Polotsk alone were over 10K).

(c) Newly created 9th corps of Victor (10 - 14K) - arrived at the theater only
in September and acted against Witgenstein - at Berezina implemented a false
attack to distract Chichagov from the real crossing.

2. On the right flank (against Tormasov's army): Austrian corps under command
of Prince Schwarzenberg - 34K

Loading...