Napoleon in Russia Tour

Napoleon in Russia Tour

The 1812 Campaign

BattlefieldHistory

5th - 14th September 2020
(10 Days)

Guide : Alan Rooney

Tour price: £3,695

click here to book

Napoleon in Russia Tour

The 1812 Campaign

BattlefieldHistory

Your Holiday Essentials

5th - 14th September 2020
(10 Days)

Includes return flights from London, 3 and 4 star hotels, buffet breakfast, all lunches, 3-course dinner with drinks each evening, all entrance fees, expert guide throughout.

Activity Level: 2

Guide: Alan Rooney

Tour price: £3,695

Single supplement: £365
Deposit: £350
Price without flights: £3,445

Booking open

click here to book

Tour Introduction

Avoiding highways as often as possible, we travel along country lanes, some still the dirt roads they were in 1812, to enjoy vistas of vast open spaces scarred by river ravines, scenes that the men of 1812 would be most familiar. As we journey into the depths of rural Russia we find traditional villages of wooden dachas, some eerily abandoned evoking times gone by. We discover the provincial towns Viazma and Malojaroslavets struggling to throw off the shroud of former regimes and explore the majestic city of Smolensk with its extant 16th century fortified walls and wonder at its beautiful richly endowed baroque Cathedral of the Assumption. Juxtaposed, the modern city of Moscow seems a world away, but will still draw you in with its imposing Kremlin complex, fabulous museums and vibrant life. But the battlefields themselves are still remarkably preserved, many of their museums and monuments benefitting from recent renovation and increased funding. This is particularly obvious at Borodino where we will also witness the fabulous re-enactment where thousands of enthusiasts in period uniforms perform in front of a vocal Muscovite crowd.

Background

In June 1812, Napoleon crossed the River Niemen into Russia with nearly 400,000 men in the hope of destroying the Russian Army in a lightning campaign. Instead he found an obstinate enemy steadily falling back and drawing him into their vast limitless country. After the bloody stalemate of Borodino, Napoleon occupied Moscow to no avail and in October deluded himself that he could withdraw into winter quarters beyond Smolensk. Instead the French experienced one of the most disastrous retreats ever endured by an army. The bitter cold, starvation and the relentless pursuit and harassment by the Russians resulted in fewer than 10,000 men re-crossing the Niemen some six months later. Between them both sides lost over half a million men, or one man every five minutes! However these figures pale when compared to the casualties incurred during the fighting from 1941 – 1943 and, although this tour is predominantly focused on the campaign of 1812, we cannot avoid weaving the story of the Great Patriotic War into our tour.

Highlights

  • The re-enactment of the Battle of Borodino
  • The fantastic state historical museum of 1812
  • Following the armies along the Old Smolensk Road
  • The stunning Cathedral of the Assumption in Smolensk
  • Guided by TCE Director Alan Rooney

Itinerary

Day 1 – Fly to Moscow - Check in to our hotel for one night

Day 2 – Re-enactment

Nobody puts on a re-enactment like the Russians. Beside the banks of the Kolocha river we will enjoy thousands of splendidly uniformed re-enactors encouraged by their Muscovite supporters. Particularly splendid will be the Preobrazhansky Guard who nearly always turn up in numbers to demonstrate manoeuvres in line, column and square. Drive to Smolensk for three nights.

Day 3 – Smolensk and Valutino

We take a walking tour of Smolensk gaining great views from its citadel, admire its 17th century walls, visit the stunning cathedral and, from its esplanade, relate the events of August 1812. Thence to the battlefield of Valutino/Lubino to discuss the final failed opportunity for the French to bring the Russians to account.

Day 4 – Retreat and Katyn

This morning we drive out towards the Belorussian border to traverse the field of Krasnoi where, in November 1812, Napoleon drove off the Russian advance guard and Marshal Ney sacrificed his corps in a desperate rear-guard action. We visit the little village of Syrokorenye where Ney crossed the frozen Dneiper and Lake Bolshaya where it has been suggested that Napoleon off-loaded his treasure! Off topic, this afternoon we visit the emotional memorial complex in Katyn Forest where the Russian NKVD executed around 22,000 Polish officers in 1941.

Day 5 - The Road to Moscow

We follow the Old Smolensk Road to assess the rejected Russian defensive positions at Usvyat’ye, Dorogobzh and Tsarevo, the latter where Kutusov took overall command. At Viazma we will discuss the Russian scorched earth policy, visit its little museum and examine Miloradovich’s manoeuvre early on in the French retreat. Continue to Moscow where we check-in to our hotel for five nights.

Day 6 – Borodino

An early start allows us to spend all day at Borodino visiting, amongst others, its fascinating museum, the Utitza Mound, the Bagration fleches and the Shevadino and Raevsky redoubts.

Day 7 – Moscow 1812

From ‘Sparrow Heights’ we, like Napoleon, enjoy a superb vista of Moscow. On the aptly named Kutusovsky Prospect we visit the wonderful 360° panorama of Borodino with its museum. This afternoon we visit the wonderful State Historical Museum with its dedicated displays on the war of 1812.

Day 8 – Winkovo & Malojaroslavets

Visit Kutusov’s preserved army camp at Winkovo with its own museum and monument, we trace the Russian surprise attack on Murat. At Malojaroslavets we enjoy the dedicated battle museum, its diorama and monument and, from the mound below the monastery, we gain a superb view of the French advance and subsequent positions.

Day 9 – Moscow

We enjoy a guided tour of the Kremlin fortress complex including the armoury chamber, the treasury, captured French artillery and cathedral square. There will be time to wander around Red Square and perhaps visit St Basil’s Cathedral.

Day 10 – Fly Home

A morning at leisure for you to explore Moscow before we head to the airport for our late afternoon return flight.

Recommended Reading List

Photo Gallery

  • Moscow University From Sparrow Hills
  • Katyn Russian Sector
  • Borodino Re-enactment
  • Borodino Re-enactment
  • Borodino Re-enactment

Your Holiday Essentials

5th - 14th September 2020
(10 Days)

Includes return flights from London, 3 and 4 star hotels, buffet breakfast, all lunches, 3-course dinner with drinks each evening, all entrance fees, expert guide throughout.

Activity Level: 2

Guide: Alan Rooney

Tour price: £3,695

Single supplement: £365
Deposit: £350
Price without flights: £3,445

Booking open

click here to book

Tour Review

View our 2017 Napoleon in Russia tour diary & photo gallery here

Photo Gallery

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