and with a penchant for young women, Mikhail Kutusov was a much
underrated leader in the Napoleonic era.
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.
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.
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.
that debacle, he continued his wars against the Turks until being
recalled to defend Mother Russia against the Grand Armee in 1812.
Barclay de Tolly after the battle of Smolensk,
Kutusov's tactics of retreat, which traded space for time, earnt
him no friends.
Borodino he gave Bonaparte
a bloody nose, but at great cost, and left Moscow to be captured
by the French.
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.