Dated: October 19, 2009
This is our annual diorama we show in the German figure-fair the DUZI every year in October. The DUZI is the oldest German figure-fair, now in it's 27th year. This year we decided to make the first Napoleonic diorama. A lot of Napoleonic dioramas showing Waterloo and Leipzig and I have never seen a bigger diorama about Napoleons campaigns before 1813 I decided to do something for the 200th anyversary of the 1809 war - Napoleons first defeat at the battle of Aspern-Essling on the 21st/22nd May 1809. I read about 20 books on this subject and spent hours of work in my archive to provite all the uniform-plates.
The diorama shows the fighting on the left French wing which was centered around the village of Aspern itself. The time is 17.30 at the first day of the battle. The village was taken and retaken several times by the Austrians and French. Now the French start for the next attack on the village which was held by the Austrians.
At the same time the other Austrians columns advanced to reinforce the their comrades in Aspern. The French needed to stop the Austrian reinforcements, so the light cavalry-division under General Marulaz was ordered to attack the Austrian column with his four regiments of Chasseur a Cheval in addition to Baden dragoons and Hessian Chevaulegers. The Austrians formed the Batallion masses to repell the attack. This Batallion mass looks like a 17th century tercio and no cavalry formation was able to break them.
While the French attacked they were taken in flank by the Austrian Chevaulegers supporting the Austrian columns.
In the outcome of this special attack the French took the village again and the cavalry was able to stop the Austrian columns. Finally Napoleon lost this battle because the Austrians were able to break down Napoleon's bridges over the Danube and he wasn't able to reinforce his troops and had to retire.
The diorama is on a plate 11x6 meters with around 16.000 figures, a lot of them HAT. For example there are 800 Austrian Chevaulegers in five squadrons attacking the French.
This diorama is the work of two years. For building it up for the fair we needed 16 hours.
I want to thank the following persons who worked with me on the project.
Sander van Straaten
Donald W. Brown
And a special thanks to Uwe Ehmke who converted a lot of figures and casted them in metal for us and Michal Schwab who answered patiently all my questions I had about the battle.
These are the photos from building up the diorama, starting in the car and the photos cleaning up the diorama afterwards.
Many thanks to Mr. Wild.
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