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Wagram 1809 Campaign research

Posted by Mr. Cryns on 16 Mar 2017, 11:48

For the Wagram campaign of 1809 including Napoleons crossing of the Danube, the battles of Aspern-Essling, Wagram and all events around this, back in 2005 I started to do a lot of research for WRG wargame campaign by Mr. Bos and me.

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This old and huge handcolored drawing representing the battle of Aspern-Essling is displayed inside the Essling granary museum.

At this moment Wolfgang Meyer/Geschichte in Miniaturen is working on a huge Danube 1809 diorama. At the same time Mr. Dodson and Marc the Plasticfan are planning to build their own 1809 campaign, while this week the Aderklaa 1809 diorama by Stephane got some interesting feedback by Krugi3 concerning uniforms and rural architecture.

About battle action and uniforms I have not much to offer you. There is plenty of books and website information available to all of us. My research focussed on those items that make diorama and scenery building so interesting: architecture of houses, impressions of fieldcrops and vegetation in early summer, the look of the marchy Lobau island, local costumes of the Austrian people, their tools and civilian wagons, Austrian army camp, French camping huts and last but not least:

Napoleons 3 pontoonbridges crossing the Danube which all seem to be made of Austrian military pontoons and civilian river boats. but of course Wolfgang, Patrick and his Austrian researchers know much more about this than I do.

So those are the subjects I have to offer you in pictures I took a while ago and I will try to display them here as organized and structured as possible.

Research trips:

I made two trips to Austria: one to Vienna in the winter of 2005 where I visited the Heeres Geschichtliches Museum Wien, the Museum der Stadt Wien and (because of the Turkish siege of 1683) I payed a visit to the Weinberg. around Döbling north-west of Vienna. The other visit was in 2009, a biketrip around the Marsfeld north east of Vienna, across the Danube, where the battles of Aspern-Essling and Wagram took place, including the Lobau island, many villages and some nearby medieval walled towns like Gross Enzersdorff and Hainsburg to the east.
I visited five small museums in Aspern, in Essling, in Deutsch Wagram, in Gross Enzersdorff and in Hainsburg. After that I went to nearby Hungary where I photographed additional information in the Szabadteri Neprajzi Muzeum (open air museum Skanden). Finally in 2010 I visited the Hadtorteneti Muzeum (army museum) in Budapest.

VILLAGE HOUSES ON THE MARSFELD

krugi3 wrote:Aderklaa was (and is still today) a small hamlet, the houses from the pic of the book are probably too big (a second floor is maybe exaggerated, even today not common)

I think Krugi3 must be correct. I photographed old houses in many different villages and towns and most of them had no second floor at all.

The typical house of the Marsfield area villages like Aspern and Essling must have looked like this:
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(I took this picture in the Hungarian open air museum so in fact this must be a Hungarian house)

Such houses are situated parallel to the street.
It has only a ground floor.
A roof made of wooden shingles.
A yellow-cream painted plastered wall.

My image may show a Hungarian house but todays appearance of the Marsfeld houses show many similarities:

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All these buildings have the wooden shingles removed by terracotta rooftiles. Rooftiles will have been in use already in 1809 though thatch roof seems to be a third possibility to cover a house:

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The open air museum gives us a clear impression what wooden shingle roofs have looked like:

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Some houses are build around a corner:

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A painting from the medieval town of Hainsburg from early 20th century makes clear even many city houses had only a groundfloor. Many houses must have been build at least partly from wood and it shows a barn entirely made out of wood:

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All of this makes the way other gamers and modelers represent the village houses even more unlikely:

Here is a great Aspern-Essling game table of the Wargames Holiday Center by Andy Thomlinson and Doug Birnie:

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Most houses look very British:

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They must have just used what was available in their club.

This next one is inside the Essling Granary museum diorama :eh: , so build by local people who should know what their own traditional houses must have look like :(
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They cropped the ground plan of the houses but not the height to fit all of the battlefield inside one glass covered table.

Aspern as represented by Monsieur le Rosbif & Johnny Frog (is that OUR Rosbif?)
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The Maidstone Wargames Society created a fantastic 6mm Aspern-Essling wargame table:
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but sadly, their Aspern village looks like they used typical British and German style houses produced by Hardcover Design:

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It looks like almost nobody payed some specific interest in Austrian rural architecture and that may also be because sources that we use to consider as being reliable, just like Krugi3 mentioned, exaggerate the appearance of the houses in German style with the gables situated towards the road, like this one:

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The best and greatest representation of Essling by someone who calls himself Jaeger2009 shows, apart from some specific multi floor stone buildings like the granary and the townhall/monastery, those typical one floor village farmhouses, situated parallel to the street, in combination with separate wooden barns:

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My deepest respect for 'Jaeger2009 of whom I know nothing at all except that I can enter his Photobucket territory where all of us can see his brilliant work.

To be continued soon with more rural village architecture.

All feedback is welcome of course :-D
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Mr. Cryns  Netherlands

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Posted by krugi3 on 16 Mar 2017, 12:56

Great topic!

As I am from Austria I assure you, that only a very few Austrian people know how an Austrian rural building in 1809 would look like. And I agree, the diorama in the Essling granary is not good (the Austrians are mostly French napoleonic or british AWI Grenadiers! Formations are completely unknown).

Here's a little attempt on my side to show the French grand battery at Wagram (high corn, worn uniforms):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9svf_yxd3M

And a link to the museum in Wagram that's worth visiting:
http://www.wagram1809.at/index.htm

Greetings from Austria
Thomas Krug
https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/TKR172/info
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krugi3  Austria
 
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Posted by C M Dodson on 16 Mar 2017, 13:43

Hello Mr C.

Your kind offer of this information only crossed my mind this week and how wonderful if you to take the time to post. I know that it takes ages to get the pictures up and running etc.

Fantastic stuff, especially about the houses.

I have the Austrian troops but need to paint them but this will inspire me to start.

I have an urge to see Vienna and then do a little light detective work somewhere near ?

I shall have to treat the Feldmarschall.

Brilliant stuff. I look forward to your next submission and in the meantime. Thank you again for making the effort.

Best wishes,

Chris
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Posted by Wolfgang Meyer on 17 Mar 2017, 12:57

Hi Mr. Cryns,

thank you very much for this beautiful report on the Marchfeld.

best regards,

Wolfgang
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Wolfgang Meyer  Germany
 
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Posted by FredG on 18 Mar 2017, 12:37

C M Dodson wrote:...............I have the Austrian troops but need to paint them but this will inspire me to start........,


May I recommend this Chris. It's highly unlikely to break the bank :P

http://www.thehistorybookman.webeden.co ... 4/10915799
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FredG  United Kingdom
 
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Posted by Michael Robert on 18 Mar 2017, 16:17

Hi Mr Cryns,

your contribution and research is, as so often, a treasure. Thank you very much.

I have been several times to Vienna and surrounding régions. The houses you suggest correspond definitely to the country houses of my memory and some old Holiday pictures of Neusiedler See etc.
Of course, Vienna has much more to offer than just souvenirs of Wagram and Aspern-Essling battles.
If you like music or pastry, nice cafés, beautiful inner city for pedestrians only, palaces of on empire. Nice countryside with good wine. Lots of good memories :occasion:

Michael
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Michael Robert  France

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Posted by C M Dodson on 18 Mar 2017, 17:46

Hello Mr Fred G.

Thank you very much for thus link. I have ordered it, before everyone else does!

Amazing value and free postage.

I hope there is no catch and that it arrives in bits!

Only joking.

Thank you again. It was a very kind thought.

Best wishes,

Chris
C M Dodson  United Kingdom
 
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Posted by Peter on 19 Mar 2017, 20:36

I have this nice book about the battle and a lot of uniformplates:

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;-)
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Peter  Belgium

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Posted by Mr. Cryns on 20 Mar 2017, 12:24

Gentlemen, thanks to all of you for your great input!

Krugi3: thanks for your links, good you remind us of the fact the Erzherzog Carl Haus is an interesting item that should not be missed in my list of historic buildings. :yeah:

Mr. Dodson: when I imagine what your Aspern-Essling project is probably going to look like I understand why these pictures of old houses are interesting you. I will post some more of them here today :-D

FredG: that looks like a book I don't know yet and I would like to posses it myself too. :thumbup:

Peter: Yes that is a great book I once bought in Paris before it was available in the Netherlands. It has a great contemporary black&white map of Lobau Island inside.

Now: An addition to the single floor houses:
This monumental relief shows Deutsch Wagram in 1772:

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Notice the brook running through the central street and the single floor houses. But many gables are directed towards the street. I have no idea how reliable this image is.

TWO FLOOR HOUSES

Besides the standard single floor farmhouse or rural village house, around the Marchfeld and environment of Vienna, other types of rural architecture with two floors can be found.

There is a type of farm building that reminds us of the Belgian farms of the Waterloo campaign: several buildings with one or two floors positioned around a central court. The gables of house and barn are directed towards the street. The court is closed with a wall and arched gate.

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Notice the use of wood of the second floor gable, this must have been common back in the early 1800's. Look at the three supporting stones projecting from the gable supporting two arches, and below that a very low arched gate leading to the winecellar.

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Some similar court-farm buildings:

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A gate from 1807:

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Some two floor non-farm village and town houses:

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Notice the square gates above: at least the left one is modern.

This is a street inside the townwalls of Hainburg:

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Townhalls, residents and monasteries have their own style and architectural proportions but all of these are single exceptions:

Like the Erzherzog Carl Haus at Deutsch Wagram:
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Recently it was painted yellow like so many rural buildings:

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(these two pictures were not taken by myself but linked from the internet)

Just like in Tirol, some walls are decorated with (Catholic) fresco's:

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Next week: Churches and a visit to the dungeon of death.
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Mr. Cryns  Netherlands

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Posted by C M Dodson on 22 Mar 2017, 11:49

MR Cryns, wonderful stuff. I am tempted to ditch Quatre Bras and get stuck in!

However, fed up as I am with painting Nassau units I will keep to the plan.

These pictures are inspirational. I have just got back from sking in Austri and the style is very familiar p.

Many thanks also to Fred G. My book arrived this morning and is fantastic. The only snag is it is electronic but at the price it is a small snag at most.

Looking forward to the next instalment.

Best wishes,

Chris
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Posted by C M Dodson on 22 Mar 2017, 15:14

Thank you Peter. Ordered today at £19.00 in the UK through E Bay.

Free p and p. Marvellous.

Best wishes,

Chris
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Posted by FredG on 23 Mar 2017, 08:56

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FredG  United Kingdom
 
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Posted by C M Dodson on 23 Mar 2017, 11:21

Oh no! Never mind, I understand my copy is bound in gold leaf and signed by his Majesty.

Best wishes,
Chris
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Posted by Rathgeb on 27 Mar 2017, 08:50

Great research, Mr. Cryns, thank you! This really awoke my interest for these battles!

I am no gamer, but build small dioramas (time permitting). So we would need somebody making models of those typical houses, I sure would buy one or two...

Cheers,
Peter
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Posted by FredG on 27 Mar 2017, 19:31

Does anyone do a good 1/72 or 20mm figure of Archduke Charles (Erzherzog Karl Ludwig Johann Joseph Lorenz von Österreich, Herzog von Teschen)?
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Posted by Peter on 27 Mar 2017, 21:07

FredG wrote:Does anyone do a good 1/72 or 20mm figure of Archduke Charles (Erzherzog Karl Ludwig Johann Joseph Lorenz von Österreich, Herzog von Teschen)?

Can't we just call him Archie (not bunker ;-) )? Speaks easier! :-D
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Posted by Mr. Cryns on 28 Mar 2017, 09:08

C M Dodson wrote: I am tempted to ditch Quatre Bras and get stuck in!
However, fed up as I am with painting Nassau units I will keep to the plan.

Yes thats a wise decision: Stay to your old plan and finish one project before you start another one.

Rathgeb wrote:This really awoke my interest for these battles!

That is good to hear. At least my research is serving some purposes now after ten years time.

WOODEN SHINGLES

I found some more pictures in my archive of those roofs made of wooden shingles. This is another technique: these singles fit into each other:

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Wooden shingles: a way of covering a house that has been almost forgotten today but was once very common in so many countries all over Europe.

CHURCHES ON THE MARCHFELD AND SURROUNDING AREA

Like everywhere else in Europe we find Romanesque and Gothic medieval churches that were rebuild in the Baroque style during the 17th and 18th centuries.

First of all the church of Aspern:

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It was damaged severely during the fighting:

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Because of heavy rain I did not photograph it. But next to the church is a small chapel in which a small museum of the Aspern-Essling battle is situated. I traced down a telephone number and tried to persuade the caretaker to open the doors of this museum and the Granary in Essling for us. He refused until I offered him 50 euro's :eh: and told him I was a professional historian. So I did not drive all the way from Amsterdam to find closed doors.

Raasfeld has a very small church of Romanesque origin that looks typical Austrian today:

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Hainburg has a huge Baroque church:

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Doebling, west of Vienna, has a nice Gothic one:

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In the Osprey Wagram book is a picture of a crypt in Markgrafneusiedl full of skulls said to be the victims of the Wagram battle. So we rented bikes and drove to Markgrafneusiedl. We looked for a museum but no sign at all. Visiting a pub and asking for the crypt, nobody knew anything about it. :eh: They send us to the new church. It is build in Gothic style with Baroque additions.

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Here we met the churchwarden who owned a key of the crypt and liked to show us around after the Mass was finished. He took us outside to the back of the choir and opened the door to a basement:

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This is what we found inside:

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I still don't know if these are Austrian or French soldiers or civilians too but probably a mix of it all.

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Then the churchwarden took his own bike and drove with us to the old church in Markgrafneusiedl which is the weirdest building on the Marchfeld:

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Its originally a Romanesque church with a windmill cylinder build upon its towerbase in the 18th or 19th century I believe. This building served as a lookoutpoint during the battle of Wagram:

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Our guide took us inside were we found a secret tunnel leading from the basement to a hidden place in the fields.

ESSLING GRANARY

The best known building from the Aspern-Essling battle is the granary of Essling. 28mm and 15mm models exist for years already because the building played a central role in the fightings:

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The sundial displays the local fresco art again.

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The iron clad door is still full of musketball holes today:

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CIRCULAR BUILDING:

On the old drawing of the Aspern-Essling battle, south-west of the Lobau island, a circular building is visible:

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I may be mistaking, but it looks like a baptisterium or circular chapel like the one I found within the medieval townwalls of Hainburg:

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Next week: overall views of the battlefields and maps of the villages.
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Mr. Cryns  Netherlands

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Posted by C M Dodson on 28 Mar 2017, 10:57

Dear Mr C.

Wonderful stuff and your tenacity deserves a medal. The ossuary is typical of the Austrian style of disposal via the bone bank.

As you know, my childhood love of fire lives on and the thought of a blazing, floating mill crashing through a pontoon bridge is infectious.

I did a little research and found this which I hope will be of use.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ship_mill

Best wishes,

Chris
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Posted by Mr. Cryns on 28 Mar 2017, 11:40

Dear Mr. Dodson,

Thanks for the medal.
And for the floating mill link: that is great stuff, isn't it? I remember moderator Paul posted one in 1/72 scale once.
But be patient: on my posting-program will be a whole section of tow boats, floating rivermills and other vessels, some of them being antique scale models from the Hainburg museum.
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Mr. Cryns  Netherlands

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Posted by Mr. Cryns on 05 Apr 2017, 11:09

C M Dodson wrote:my childhood love of fire lives on and the thought of a blazing, floating mill crashing through a pontoon bridge is infectious.


Reading your words again confuses me though :oops:
Is that just your pyromanic fantasy or is the burning floating mill recorded to be used by the Austrian pioneers and pontonniers by ways of a ramming ship to crash the French supporting lines? Whatever the answer will be, I look forward to see your visualization of it. :-D

THE BATTLEFIELD THEN AND NOW

He who visits the Aspern and Essling villages hoping to find some rural impressions for the events of 1809 will be deeply disappointed. And so was I.
Both villages are incorporated into Donaustadt, a messy modern suburb of Vienna with lots of commercial premises and industrial activities. :(

Map showing Napoleons first crossing of the Donau (in red) and the battle of Aspern Essling:

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The riverbeds of the Donau have been destroyed by canalization already back in the 19th century. And the southern Lobau island is destroyed to make place for a petrol storage complex :(

Who wants to see a nice impression of the Marchfeld like it must have looked like 200 years ago, should pay a visit to Hainburg an der Donau. At Google Earth you will find it at this coordinate: 48° 8'32.09"N 16°56'52.29"E. In the 18th century it looked like this:

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From the castle at the top there as a spectacular view towards the Marchfeld west-north-west:

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Standing in the middle of the Marchfeld, at coordinate 48°16'6.06"N 16°33'29.74"E which is said to have been a position of Napoleon directing the battle of Wagram, the landscape looks as flat as a pancake.

Looking east:

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looking north:

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looking west:

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A bird's eye view from the 18th century showing the walled town of Gross Enzersdorff in a completely empty agricultural plain:

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No single farm is visible, these were all situated into the villages. No woods. Few single trees.

The Danube river arms and Lobau island is the exception. These were covered by woods, now and back then. Here is a colored map I found in one of the museums.

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Its from the second part of the 19th century: the Donau is already canalized (bottom left) and a circle of post-Napoleonic fortresses is visible around Aspern (top left). I suppose the number of houses and area's covered by wetland-woods along the river are still similar to the 1809 situation.

The village of Aspern:

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The Aspern church is a red block left side of the village.
GE: 48°13'3.81"N 16°28'58.44"E

Notice the two 'modern' forts that have disappeared already again today.
Traces of such post-Napoleonic fortresses can be seen here: 48°12'26.06"N 16°29'36.35"E

The Essling village:

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The granary is projecting northwards from the northern road.
48°12'58.46"N 16°31'26.31"E

Another map shows Essling in 1809:

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The granary is much better visible here at the north side of the village.
Notice the plan of the houses: most are L shaped with the main building parallel to the street and the additional wing at left hand behind, thus creating half open backyards.

A very detailed map showing the situation around Lobau like it was after the battle of Aspern Essling and during the battle of Wagram: 20 (pontoon) bridges build by the French to cross the Donau river and sortie the Lobau island. (north=top right)

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The legenda is very interesting: it explains all different ways by which the (pontoon) bridges were constructed.

This map shows Lobau island with Napoleons batteries, field fortifications and artillery ranges after the battle of Aspern Essling:

The north part:
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And the south part of the same map.

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The next picture must be the area that will be covered by the Geschichte in Miniaturen Danube 1809 diorama: The Stadtler Arm of the Donau river north of Lobau island. Where this riverarm makes its most southern curve, you can see a crown-work field fortification called Napoleons Schanze. This is the bridgehead where Napoleons army crossed the Donau before the battle of Aspern Essling took place.

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GE: 48°11'30.67"N 16°30'9.21"E

Directly north of this small bridge you can still see the shape of the Napoleons Schanze in the roads and dark lines in the field today on satellite pics.

There was another fortified bridgehead to the south protecting the first two pontoon bridges. You can see it on all old maps but today its mostly destroyed by the petrol plant and the Donau canal.

48°10'37.01"N 16°29'34.98"E

VEGETATION:

The vegetation at Lobau island today shows lots of wet-land trees like willow, poplar and smaller shrubs:

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Notice the mistletoe like parasites in the trees. Here is a close up after such tree died:

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Fantastic scenery all over the Lobau island!:

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Lobau is still full of small creeks and brooks:

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Weird marshy trees:

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A picture of skirmishes between Austrian Jaeger and French grenadiers gives a possible impression of what Lobau may have looked like back in 1809.

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Every part of the landscape had to serve a purpose for the population. Lobau must have produced lots of (willow) twigs used for wickerwork. That's probably why the artist of this picture shows trees with chopped off branches.

Next week: Pontoons, towing boats and floating mills on the river Donau.
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