The Battle of Berezina (near Borisov, Belarus) took place on November 26-29, 1812 between the French army of Napoleon, retreating after his invasion of Russia, and the Russian armies, under Mikhail Kutuzov, Peter Wittgenstein and Admiral Pavel Chichagov. The battle ended with a mixed outcome. The French suffered heavy losses but managed to cross the river avoiding becoming trapped at the mercy of the Russians. Since then "Berezina" has been used in French as a synonym for "disaster."
The French had suffered a defeat just two weeks earlier during the Battle of Krasnoi. However, reinforcements who had been stationed near the Berezina during Napoleon's initial advance through Russia brought the strength of the Grande Armee to some 30,000 to 40,000 soldiers. The Russians had approximately 61,000 troops at the Berezina, with another 54,000 under Kutuzov just 40 miles to the east who were approaching the river.
Napoleon Bonaparte's plan was to cross the Berezina River and head for Poland, while his enemies wanted to trap him there and destroy him. Bonaparte's original plan to cross the frozen river quickly proved to be impossible, as the river has started to thaw in uncharacteristic warmer weather. Napoleon had to think quickly and the legendary commander's true military genius is fully displayed in this victorious triumph against the odds.
Since the seventies, Andre Jouineau has dedicated himself to studies in history and uniforms. Regular contributor to various magazines, he was appointed official painter of the Army in 1985 (title kept until 1994). Then, in the mid-nineties, he tackled computer illustration, which allowed "creating" a new uniformology genus.