Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Vyborg 1710-2010

This is a report from Boris of the Great Northern war reenactment group of a recent 300th anniversary event at Vyborg.
The walls of the fortress facing harbour were breached by Russian siege guns between June 1st and 6th, 1710. However, Vyborg's land front and its key point bastion Panzerlax could not be damaged despite all efforts of Russian artillery. It was proposed to blow it up with "machine infernalis", but first the besiegers had to gain access to the moat. And the moat in front of Panzerlax was defended with small earthwork, a caponier. Fight for this caponier took place in the night, June 6th (it should be noticed nights are "white" in this region in early Summer). Unlike vast majority of other actions of GNW, this combat was described by common ranks from both sides, Russian and Swedish, who fought there.

Survived "autobiographies" of officers and NCOs of Second Grenadier regiment were written down in 1720 and they mention fight for the caponier where several grenadiers were taken prisoner by Swedes and were held in the fortress until its surrender (Second Leut. Tit Duganov, Captain-of-arms Stepan Kolesnikov). Others mention their participation in beating off a Swedish sortie at the caponier (Serj.Anton Yaroslavtsev, Capt.-Leut. Andrey Monastyrev).
Russian State Archive of Navy stores report from interrogation of Swedish Capt. Franz Fariol, Savolax regt, who was sent to reinforce the caponier, but his men abandoned him and he was captured.
The fight lasted all night and by morning Russians held the caponier. Storming Vyborg was appointed on June 9th and preparations were made to blow up the machine, but Governor started negotiations and assault never happened.

Thus, bastion Panzerlax survived the siege and 300 years after it; it stands in the middle of modern town in good condition. The place where the caponier stood is now a crossroads of two town streets and kids' playground. So we reenacted the fight between the playground and the bastion. Grenadier in re-created cap of 2nd Grenadiers started the battle and was indeed captured prisoner, Swedes left prisoners as well and withdrew to within the bastion. This was the first day of commemorations of 300 anniversary of taking Vyborg.

Here I posted pictures http://lgpp1709.livejournal.com/18295.html with contemporary map supplied with modern view of the bastion and with photos from our event there. I also put original words from real combatants into mouths of reenactors.

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