3 Sep 2012

Battle of Borodino re-created

7:41 am on 3 September 2012

Mounted French and Russian actors have recreated a battle that saw the grand army of Napoleon face the army of the Tsar 200 years ago.

More than 250,000 men fought in the Battle of Borodino in 1812 at the gates of Moscow, that led to the fall of Napoleon.

To re-enact the battle, there were 300 cavalry horses and more than 3000 enthusiasts in replica uniforms from all over Europe. The event unfolded before nearly 100,000 history buffs on Sunday.

The battle is remembered by Russians as one of their greatest moments and President Vladimir Putin oversaw the festivities. The ABC reports the government spent $A1.1 million on the celebration.

France was represented at the Borodino field by former President Giscard d'Estaing.

"The entire people rose against the invaders," Mr Putin said in an address at the field.

"Its unprecedented heroism, spiritual strength and heartfelt love for the land filled our country with an tremendous force that had never been seen before."

The ABC reports the battle of 7 September was the definitive example of a general winning the battle, but losing the war.

Napoleon watched his smaller army of 20,000 soldiers overcome 45,000 foes and then decided to take time to recover before pushing on to Moscow.

He apparently did not known that Field Marshal Kutuzov had decided to retreat the day after the battle.

The army had time to regroup as Napoleon's generals entered the ashes of Moscow, which had been burned by its people before they left the city.

The Russians then drove out Napoleon's demoralised soldiers.