The world hardly needs yet another blog post about this famous data visualisation, but hey, it’s my blog, so in the immortal words of Jerry Springer: “Get your own show.”
“Hey, it’s my show!”
Overlaid onto a simplified map, the light brown bar shows the Grand Armee’s march into Russia all the way to Moscow, and the black bar shows their retreat to the Polish-Russian border. The constant attrition due to winter conditions, starvation and conflict is painfully clear – with just 16,000 soldiers returning out of an initial 422,000.
The line chart at the bottom plots the temperature in celsius, and is shown only for the army’s retreat (the black bar) – highlighting the terrible effect of those winter conditions on an army ill-equipped for it.
For me, the most shocking event visualised is the infamous Berezina River massacre, in late November 1812 – visible at bottom centre-left, as the black bar intersects with the Berezina river on the map.
There have been many attempts to revise this famous visualisation, including this English translation (click image to enlarge) by Ward Kaiser and Denis Wood: