Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Stare Vinhorady

The afternoon we spent exploring Stare Vinhorady was one of those really memorable experiences.

This should have been one of the easiest locations to find. We had a good map, and it is clearly marked just north of a cross roads. We followed the track from Pratzenberg monument, and found the cross roads. But we could see no hill in the area shown on the map. There are two contour lines, so it should be easily identified. But we could see no mound or hill anywhere, certainly not in the spot shown on the map.

I understand that Stare Vinhorady means Old Vines, but the vineyard has long since disappeared. We were surrounded by a large area of cut corn, with spectacular views of the whole battlefield.

We were fortunate to have another warm sunny afternoon, so we settled down with our picnic lunch, maps and photocopies. As we ate lunch we identified the villages, and the area of the French advance towards Pratzen and Vinhorady.

This was the scene of the fiercest and most critical fighting of the battle. It was held by the Russian Guard who contested possession with Vandamme. The Russian Guard cavalry broke the French left, but Napoleon was at hand to send his own Guard Cavalry in to save the day. The French victory here signaled the end of the battle.

The combination of lovely weather, satisfaction with finding the location and a long picnic lunch whilst reading and imagining what has happened on this very spot all made for an ideal battlefield visit, and one we shall always remember with affection.

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