Russian General Who Defeated Napoleon in 1812 was saved by A French Surgeon

The time when soldiers were dying because of minor infections on the battlefields, a Russian general survived two shots to the head and went on to defeat the largest and most skillful Army of the time. He contributed a great deal to the eventual downfall of the tyrants of the 19th century, Napoleon Bonaparte.

The Story of Mikhail Kutuzov is astonishing and inspiring at the same time. While fighting against Turks in Crimea in 1774, Mikhail suffered a seemingly fatal blow to the frontal lobe.

Most of his comrades thought Mikhail would not survive the injury but a genius French neurosurgeon saved his life and changed the course of the history says Mark C Preul, the Director of the Neurosurgery Research at Barrow Neurological Institute. The French Surgeon was way ahead of his time, and the techniques he used at that time were impossible to perform with the 19th century surgical equipment. No one could anticipate that Kutuzov was going to play a vital and somewhat decisive role in the defeat of Napoleon in the invasion of Moscow just a few years later, the NDTV reports.

After the miraculous surgery Mikhail was reported to have started acting erratically and snappy. His contemporaries regularly reported him taking out of the box decisions and putting his subordinates in seemingly unnecessary dangers. On several occasions his superiors thought of sending Mikhail on forced leave but it never came to that, a decision Russians celebrate to the day.

When Napoleon decided to head towards Moscow in a bit to further his aim of expansion of French Empire, every historian and military analyst unanimously gave the verdict favoring French. This was because of the Napoleon’s longsighted strategies and above all the massive numbers of French troops. When 500,000 French troops made to the outskirts of Moscow, General Kutuzov was leading the Russian troops defending the City. To the surprise of French, Kutuzov ordered his troops to burn the city and retreat to the east, forcing Napoleon to follow the Russians to the mountains. Kutuzov’s superiors as well as his own generals were furious on his apparently cowardly decision, but they could not be more wrong.

French Army was not equipped to handle the harsh Russian winters, which came early in 1812 forcing scores of French troops to retreat back to France. By the time Napoleon made back to Paris alive he had lost somewhat 90 percent of his Army to the cold and disease of Russia.

Kutuzov went on to become one of the most celebrated military figures in modern Russian history and the tale of his bizarre surgery operated by a French surgeon made his story even more interesting and ironic.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE