Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Polonais, prenez moi cez canons - Somosierra 1808-2016


''Polonais, prenez moi cez canons'' - said Napoleon, emperor of the French
and so this November 30  is yet another anniversary of the famous charge of the elements of Le 1er régiment de chevau-légers lanciers polonais ( the 1st Polish Light Cavalry Regiment of the Imperial Guard)against the Spanish defenders of the Somosierra Pass.
 Young, then, nobleman and officer captain Jan Kozietulski, the first commanding officer of the 3rd squadron, is the most famous cavalryman of this charge... sadly his horse died there and he was unable to complete the capture of the Spanish guns - four consecutive batteries.
 Second commanding officer - captain Jan Nepomucen Dziewanowski - got wounded before the completion of the charge at the third battery, then lt. Piotr Krasinski lead but was unhorsed and limped back, while the final commander lt. Andrzej Niegolewski lead the fragmented 3rd squadron to the capture of the final 4th battery. The 4th battery was soon lost with the surviving Poles withdrawing back to the 3rd battery, Niegolewski himself was bayoneted and left for dead by the attacking Spanish infantry, but another Polish Lighthorse squadron, the 1st,  and a platoon of the Mounted Chasseurs of the Guard under the overall command of captain Tomasz Łubieński recaptured the 4th battery and then the advancing French infantry secured the victory for the God of War.

Louis-François Lejeune, officer and artist, was there according to his journals, and painted his recollection of the later faze of this struggle - it is probably the most important image of this battle
Famous French painter Horace Vernet created a vision of the battle's aftermath, and it is a very appealing collection of portraits  both men and horses
himself a veteran of Polish army painter extraordinary January Suchodolski  painted his vision of the struggle

late in the XIX century already famous Polish painter Wojciech Kossak attempted to paint the panorama painting of the charge - after making a trip to the battle site and taking notes at the actual place, but he never finished this project (lack of funding mostly), leaving us with large oil-on-canvass sketches.
These can be viewed at the Wiki Commons site - 
here a detail from this panorama:  the French are advancing after the Polish Lighthorse

My friend dr Radek Sikora wrote his take on the battle - here.
Polish illustrator Zuzu painted uniforms of the Polish Lighhorse - can be studied and admired here.
Belgian artist Patrice Courcelle painted very animated plate showing the charge in the Osprey's publication on the Polish Lighthorse of the Guard.


Dario T. W. said...

Dario T. W. said...

Dario T. W. said...