Vive l'Empereur! Our theme for 2012 is 1812, A World at War - Napoleon in Russia, Wellington in Spain and the War of 1812. The campaign began on 24 June 1812, when Napoleon's forces crossed the river Neman. Napoleon aimed to compel Emperor of Russia Alexander I to remain in the Continental Blockade of the United Kingdom; an official aim was to remove the threat of a Russian invasion of Poland. Napoleon named the campaign a Second Polish War; the Russian government proclaimed a Patriotic War. Half a million strong, the Grande Armée marched through the Western Russia, winning a number of relatively minor engagements and a major battle at Smolensk on August 16-18. However, at that same day, the right wing of the Russian Army, under the command of General Peter Wittgenstein, stopped part of the French Army, led by Marshal Nicolas Oudinot, in the Battle of Polotsk. This prevented the French marching on the Russian capital at Saint Petersburg; the fate of the war had to be decided on the Moscow front, where Napoleon himself led his forces.
While the Russians used scorched-earth tactics, and often raided the enemy with light Cossack cavalry, their main army retreated for almost three months. This constant retreat undermined confidence in Field Marshal Michael Andreas Barclay de Tolly, leading Alexander I to appoint an old veteran, Prince Mikhail Kutuzov, the new Commander-in-Chief. Finally, on 7 September, the two armies met near Moscow in the Battle of Borodino. Here. where courage and sacrifice was a virture shared by, some 250,000 troops would not only decide the fate of Russia, but of Europe as well.
Think you can handle the rigors of such a campaign? Then down a flask of your favorite libation, pack a Marshal's Baton in your backpack and begin the march to Cold Wars 2012, where this year the convention presents three full days of the best historical miniatures gaming anywhere. To the sound of the guns, forward - for God, the Czar and Holy Russia!