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"Russian Farms - Fences, Walls, Hedges" Topic

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HappyHussar22 Apr 2018 8:15 a.m. PST

Question: would the Russian farms of the Napoleonic era have had fences? From what I thought they had none. Just open fields with no barrier? I am thinking that Russia is NOT Belgium. ;)

Friend of mine bought some paper terrain buildings of Russia (farm, church, etc) and he got a bunch of fences too. Is that accurate?

olicana22 Apr 2018 8:47 a.m. PST

Fences, low walls and the like, are pretty standard fare around all villages and farms as they keep the animals off the household vegetable patches, or the animals enclosed just prior to transport to market, fed through the winter, etc.

Marc the plastics fan22 Apr 2018 9:38 a.m. PST

Can I suggest a re-watch (or a google) of Fiddler on the Roof. Amazingly good village scenes that show just the thing you're after

laretenue22 Apr 2018 10:12 a.m. PST

As a general observation, Brits and Americans overdo the fencing in Continental European terrain.

1. Most farmland is used for cultivation, not grazing. No enclosures needed, and no such legislation was brought in as it was in 18c Britain. So the bocage of Lower Normandy (which looks unremarkable to people used to the British landscape) is very much the exception. As a rule, tilled plots are just separated by a low ditch or stone corner marker.

Dry stone walls can be found in mountainous or arid regions, but you don't get Cotswold landscapes in France, Germany or the Low Countries.

Fences do make sense if keeping in livestock, but until the late 20c these holdings would be very small indeed by our standards, particularly to North Americans or Australians. Many Norman farmers just had a few cattle at best. Incidentally, Normandy is horse country, but here again the pastures until the late 20c were generally small.

Now to Russia and Eastern Europe … Before Bolshevik Collectivisation, farms would be tiny, although village serfs would have common grazing land. Post-Collectivisation, the fields become horizon-to-horizon enormous, as in the Mid-West or the Canadian Prairies. No need for fences here. But some picket fences near buildings to keep the domestic cow or pigs from wandering might be in order.

jeffreyw322 Apr 2018 10:39 a.m. PST

Yes, Russian villages had fences and farmland was also fenced. Fences were used for protection by the French in their approach to the Shevardino redoubt, and Gourgaud relates a 45-minute firefight just South of the redoubt between two regiments of Compans' division, and supporting Russian infantry. The two sides were a couple of dozen yards apart, each behind wattle fences that protected them up to chest level.

Here is a photograph (non-colorised) of Ytitsi from the hill behind the village taken in 1911. Fencing is clearly evident. link

Le Breton Inactive Member22 Apr 2018 10:58 a.m. PST

Stone walls around major buildings (for churches, on estates). Pickets around farm/working buildings, and especailly around vegetable gardens. Split-rail, pole or "wickerwork"/"wattle" around areas for animals. Grain fields with minimum/no boundry features. Maybe a little depression from the addition of manure and topsoil to the feild itself, or a small pile of rocks and stones cleared from the field and tossed to the edge.

Search "images" for : фотографии Прокудина-Горского
He was a photgrapher of rural Russia ca. 1900. Should be little or no different from 1812. Excellent high defintion color images.










HappyHussar22 Apr 2018 6:51 p.m. PST

I appreciate the responses! I especially want to say thanks for the images!

Jcfrog Supporting Member of TMP23 Apr 2018 1:41 a.m. PST

And small towns have lots of fenced gardens, large streets, cover a way bigger area than the European huddled medieval types. But most except monastic and some churches, in wood.
On the other hand it would nicely resist bullets and maybe even small cnnons from too far. Not the ACW types.
Good model in Maloyaroslavets museum. If only I knew how to post pics😼

ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP23 Apr 2018 4:25 a.m. PST

I'm not sure if my PaperTerrain Russian houses are the ones in question here, but I used those very photographs (and a lot more from the collection) as a guide when I designed the set.

Garryowen Supporting Member of TMP23 Apr 2018 7:20 a.m. PST

Great photos Le Breton.


HappyHussar23 Apr 2018 9:08 p.m. PST

Great, Scott. Yes, those were the ones I was referring to.

Lion in the Stars23 Apr 2018 9:22 p.m. PST

@Le Breton: Wow, that's an awesome collection of pics!

Jcfrog Supporting Member of TMP24 Apr 2018 2:47 a.m. PST

Of the beauty of beeong able to put cyrillic search on yandex! So much there 😳

ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP24 Apr 2018 4:04 a.m. PST

The photo collection is amazing. A Russian nobleman travelled all over the empire in the early 1900s taking these photos (on glass plates apparently). Then, somehow, he managed to smuggle them out of Russia after the revolution. A real treasure.

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