Over 110,000 guests watch Battle of Borodino reproduction

BORODINO FIELD, September 6 (Itar-Tass) -- Over 110,000 guests from Russia and abroad attended the Borodino Festival on Sunday. The festival reproduced the Battle of Borodino - the largest and bloodiest single-day action of the French invasion of Russia in 1812, involving more than 250,000 troopers and resulting in at least 100,000 casualties.

Members of military history clubs from Russia and Belarus were dressed in Russian and French uniforms. Notably, Belarusian 'hussars' reached the Borodino field near Moscow by horse, the same as their ancestors did in 1812.

The festival started at the 'command posts' of Russian Gen. Mikhail Kutuzov in Gorki and French Emperor Napoleon I near Shevardino. Then wreaths were laid to the Russian soldiers' monument.

The festival climaxed in a replica of the final stage of the Battle of Borodino. 'Commanders' checked the troops' hand-made gear, and over 1,000 participants - 800 infantrymen, 150 cavalrymen and 100 artillerymen with 18 cannons - displayed the two-centuries-old sample of war craft.

Hundreds of policemen with metal detectors and dogs provided security of the festival. The weapons of the festival participants were thoroughly examined before 'the battle' in order to avoid possible injuries. The participants were due to carry wooden guns with aluminum bayonets. There were clouds of gunpowder smoke on the 'battlefield', as the participants were permitted to fire pyrotechnics.

The Battle of Borodino was the largest battle of the War 1812, which took place on August 26 and involved about 120,000 Russians and 136,000 French soldiers. The Russians lost 44,000 men killed, and the French casualties amounted to 58,000. The battle started the defeat of the Napoleon army.

Today's festival was the 20th. Emperor Nicholas I organized the first replica of the battle in 1839. That event involved 150,000 soldiers. The festival was particularly large in 1912, the year of the battle's centenary. In modern days the festivals resumed in the 1970s, and the holiday acquired the state status only in 1995. The Battle of Borodino anniversaries became the Day of Russian Military Glory (marked on September 8).



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