Mikhail Kutusov

Russian General

Napoleon BonaparteOne-eyed and with a penchant for young women, Mikhail Kutusov was a much underrated leader in the Napoleonic era.

His early and middle military days saw him in conflict with Russia's southern enemy - the Turks - and his first clashes with European soldiers came along the Danube.

Leading Russia's military arm of the Third Coalition he arrived too late to assist Austria against the French at Ulm, but did skilfully exorcise his men from a potential trap afterwards.

Pursued by Napoleon Bonaparte and hamstrung by having to explain his tactics to Tsar Alexander and King Frederick-Wilhelm, Kutusov was unable to avoid taking on the French at Austerlitz.

Following that debacle, he continued his wars against the Turks until being recalled to defend Mother Russia against the Grand Armee in 1812.

Replacing Barclay de Tolly after the battle of Smolensk, Kutusov's tactics of retreat, which traded space for time, earnt him no friends.

At Borodino he gave Bonaparte a bloody nose, but at great cost, and left Moscow to be captured by the French.

As Bonaparte retreated, Kutusov's forces allowed him no respite and had luck been more with him, his strategies of trapping the retreating French army before it escaped over the Beresina could have completely destroyed the invaders.

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