Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Telnitz and Sokolnitz

This is the view of Telnitz and Sokolnitz from The Pratzen. The allied attacks on the villages advanced over this ground. The first attack was on Telnitz, and then spread to Sokolnitz. Both villages changed hands during the battle, but both we retaken by the French before the end.
We spent a day walking the whole area around the two villages following the red outline above. First we followed the Austrian advance from the hill to Telnitz to the south. Then around the back of the village towards Sokolnitz, over the area where the French reinforced the village. And finally we had lunch on the small hill to the west of Sokolnitz, where the French counter attacks on the village were formed.

There was no path from the Pratzen to Telnitz in 1805, nor is there now. We tramped across the fields heading for the church tower of the village, much as the Austrian infantry must have done in 1805.

There were a number of attacks on each village. The French were driven out, received reinforcements and counter attacked throughout the day. The reinforcements came from Sokolnitz, and one column was fired on by their own comrades when it was mistaken for an allied attack (see accidental clash above). Walking from Telnitz to Sokolnitz we found the likely spot for this unfortunate mistaken exchange of fire.

In Sokolnitz we had a short break in the walled garden looking towards The Pratzen. Then we walked through the village and up to the small hill behind. In doing so we followed the route taken by the Russians as they stormed the village time and again. Each time the French rallied on the hill behind, and returned to retake the village. Here we had a picnic lunch and read our prepared accounts of the fighting.

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