Thousands re-enact Battle of Nations in Germany

View photos
Troops are shooting with cannons during the reconstruction of the Battle of the Nations at the 200th anniversary near Leipzig, central Germany, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2013. Some 6,000 members of military-historic associations from 24 countries took part in this performance. The Battle of Nations, from Oct. 16-19, 1813, was fought by the coalition armies of Russia, Prussia, Austria and Sweden against the French army of Napoleon. The battle decided that Napoleon had to retreat to France. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)

BERLIN (AP) — About 6,000 history buffs have re-enacted the Battle of Nations in Leipzig to mark the 200th anniversary of the largest battle in Europe prior to World War I.

The German news agency dpa reported that about 30,000 onlookers watched participants from 24 countries dressed up in historic military costumes as they re-enacted combat situations between infantrymen, cavalrymen and artillery units.

The original battle involved about 500,000 soldiers and pitted the coalition armies of Russia, Prussia, Austria, Sweden and England against the French army outside of Leipzig in 1813.

It ended in a defeat of the French army which sealed the end of Napoleon's hegemony over Europe.

About 90,000 people died on the battlefields outside of Leipzig.