Slavkov Battle Reenactment Attracts Around 10,500 Spectators

The Battle of Slavkov (Austerlitz) took place on 2 December 1805. Credit:

Tvarozna, South Moravia, Dec 4 (CTK) – On Saturday, around 10,500 people watched a snowy reenactment of the Battle at Slavkov (Austerlitz), where the Napoleonic army scored a historic victory in 1805, in Tvarozna near Brno, organiser Miroslav Jandora told CTK.

Although 218 years ago there was only a touch of snow and frost on the battlefield, Saturday saw several centimetres of snow on the ground and sub-zero temperatures. However, this was a bigger problem for the spectators than for those depicting soldiers, who look forward to the event all year round, Jandora said.

Almost 1,200 enthusiasts from 15 countries gathered on the Slavkov battlefield, which was still partly muddy and not completely frozen, to commemorate the final showdown of the Battle of the Three Emperors.

In the Battle at Slavkov on 2 December 1805, Napoleon’s French army defeated the armies of Emperor Franz I and Russian Tsar Alexander I. It is one of the largest battles in the history of Central Europe, with a total of 20,000 soldiers perishing on the battlefield. Historians estimate that twice as many inhabitants of Moravia died as a consequence of the battle.

At the beginning of the reenactment, the Austrian and Russian troops marched in columns against a small part of the French infantry deployed in a line of scattered riflemen, forcing them to retreat hastily with their advance and their considerable superiority. At the moment of this partial victory, however, the bayonets of Marshal General Jean-de-Dieu Soult’s troops appeared on the horizon behind them. After that, the spectators saw the gradual success of the French, who finally gained possession of the battlefield with the aid of artillery, and forced the enemy into a general retreat.

American Mark Schneider of Virginia played Napoleon again this year. He has appeared in this role since 2005.

The organisers point out that the annual event should not be a celebration of war or Napoleon, but a mere remembrance of historical events. The programs marking the anniversary of the Slavkov Battle traditionally culminate with the Sunday commemorative meeting at the Cairn of Peace.

Another “competitive” event entitled “Then in Slavkov” also took place on Saturday. It started with a ceremonial lineup of soldiers and continued with guided demonstrations of military training and battle clashes as well as an equestrian tournament. The evening saw a parade of soldiers through the town.

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