Saturday 1 December 2012

When The Swiss Invaded Russia

Among the many anniversaries neglected this year is the 200th Anniversary of Napoleon’s Retreat From Moscow.  Understandably, the French have had little to say about it. 

With their European colleagues too worried about the state of the French banking system to cause any distractions, the peoples freed from Napoleon’s tyranny have felt that discretion is the better part of valour.

Great Britain has forgotten it, partly because we have had other excitements amongst the celebrity classes.  There has been one small part of Europe, however, that has remembered.

Switzerland is a long way from Russia and has no sea route either, at least the last time I looked at a map.  But the Swiss were there and on the side of the French. 

Nine thousand Swiss invaded Russia but only four hundred made it back.  This may have seemed bad, but proportionately it was better than the French casualty list.

For the story, see this short link:

Apparently, there are still some villages in the Ticino that mark the loss of their fallen in this campaign.  Also, the song, The Berezino or Beresina, remembering one of the major battles in cruel conditions is still known. 

It is a plaintive one in chant:

Also, this year was the Anniversary of the Battle of Salamanca, which turned the tide in the Peninsular War against the Napoleonic forces.  This is something else we have forgotten and is expunged from the school history books. 

There is not a special song for this, perhaps “Over The Hills And Far Away” from Youtube etc. will have to do.

The King commands and we obey………….

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