Letter: Fine weather for Napoleon's army

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The Independent Online
Sir: You inform us in a leading article (16 February) that the invasions of Russia 'by the Swedes under Charles XII, by the French under Napoleon and by the Germans under Hitler' were 'seen off' Russian territory 'with the aid of General Winter'.

As a matter of historical fact, Charles XII was defeated and thrown out of Russia in midsummer and Napoleon began his retreat from Moscow at the beginning of October in 'superb weather', according to Napoleon. Only as they were approaching the western frontier of Russia did the remnants of his defeated army encounter the full rigour of the northern winter. The German army, it is true, suffered decisive defeat in midwinter (Stalingrad), but defeat pursued it throughout the following summer, until it, too, was 'seen off' Russian territory.

Yours faithfully,


London, W4