A discursive look at Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, plus a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Foy’s Almost-Summer Prize Competition 2014 – Awards Night

Thanks very much to everyone who sent an entry. I am very impressed – and mightily entertained. Because I was concerned that it might be too difficult, I think I was perhaps a little too generous with the clues, but my compliments to those who identified the right location and the associated Napoleonic event.

I received a total of 17 entries, of which 10 were correct, or at least on the right lines. The supersleuths used Google Search, Google Earth – some cunning devils even stalked my whereabouts in the month of August through my blogging activities, so there is a pervasive whiff of Google throughout.

A couple of entries provided an exact location – down to street corner level, which is scary, and the quality of the answers provided was generally so good that a lot of weight fell on the big proportion of points available for (subjective) entertainment value. Again, the standard was really very high, though I am a famously unfair and waspish marker.

Special mention must go to Rod, who provided a hilarious and very detailed explanation of why the location was Goole (in Humberside), but thus lost marks for accuracy.

Otherwise, in no particular order, I must applaud the very fine, well-thought-out entries of Steve the Wargamer, Edwin King, Ivan Fairchild (“Ivan the Tolerable”), Ludovico and James Saul, before coming to my final short list of three. These were all truly excellent, and I’ve spent a couple of days agonising over the ranking. Eventually it was a very close call indeed – thus the runners-up are Pyotr (stupefying accuracy and amusing explanation) and Johnny Rosbif (not so precise, but pulled out all the stops on the comic explanation), but the winner is Ubique Matt, whose overall score just takes the prize by a whisker(!).

If Matt can email me through my Blogger profile with postal details, I shall arrange shipping forthwith…

The photo was taken on the corner of Leopoldstrasse and Neurauthgasse in Innsbruck, Tirol, Austria, in August 2011, looking slightly west of south. There are a few misleading items (Italian and German car registrations, and the Italian-owned Agip garage, which threw a couple of people). The big clues are the Austrian-style church, which appears in a couple of old paintings of the battle, and the odd tower in the distance, which is the ski-jump from the 1964 Winter Olympics. Between the camera position and this tower there is a steep hillside which was the scene of the Battles of Berg Isel in 1809. The number of these battles is three or four, depending upon whom you ask. The first three were notable because the Tirolean partisans under Andreas Hofer (he of the whiskers) gave a series of salutary whuppings to the Bavarian regulars (who must have been puffed out with the climb). The fourth is seldom mentioned since the Tiroleans lost that one.

Hofer, on his night off
The blog post from 2011, describing my visit to the place, and showing pictures of the panorama, is here. Thanks and congratulations to everyone who took part – here is Matt’s winning entry:

Very interesting set of questions/challenges on your blog. With reference to your comp, you're standing I believe on Brennerstrasse near it's the junction with Neurauthgasse looking south, in Bergisel, just south of Innsbruck. This was near the site of the Battle(s) of Bergisel. [Ed: Brennerstrasse is the continuation of Leopoldstrasse, on the other side of Neurauthgasse, so this is certainly close enough – within the burst circle…] 

Using my Google fu powers and a bit of luck - I looked down your blog roll to August last year to find out where you had gone on your holidays and saw that it was Austria. The ski jump seemed vaguely familiar (I eventually recognized it the one near Innsbruck as I've stood at the top of it during a mad dash around Europe in my youth - how people can launch themselves off those things I'll never know).

Using Google Earth I traced the line of the street directly back looking for the church and Agip petrol station (seen on the photo) until I spotted the likely site of where you stood (Brennerstrasse near Neurauthgasse) to take the photo.

With reference to whiskers all I can think of is Andreas Hofer, who had a particular impressive set of whiskers himself. I know there's a monument to him in Bergisel because we saw it and none of us had any idea who he was at the time (this was before the dark days, before we all had mobile phone with internet access). So we asked around to find out who he was, interesting chap.


  1. Congratulations to Ubique Matt! I made little headway on this very interesting challenge. I figured with the church and ski jump, I would be able to narrow the selection. No such luck. If only I had trawled through your old blog postings....sigh.

    1. I was too helpful by half - next time there'll be no mention of dates, no mention of whiskers, no mention of…..

      Regards - Tony

  2. Huzzah! Congrats Matt.

    I think I know why I didn't win, though; I referred to Carlotta Wurst, not Conchita Wurst. I'll check my facts more closely next time!

    1. I enjoyed your entry very much - if you'd been a little more precise with the GPS you'd probably have won (I don't suppose that is very cheering?), but at the start I had no idea the level of precision which would be achieved by some of these devils…

      For interested readers, I must explain that Monsieur Rosbif not only gave a graphic description of the battles of Berg Isel, including reference to cuckoo clocks(?), goats and Julie Andrews, but also gave a splendid account of the little-known action at Unter-Stinckendorf, as another possibility.

      Cheers - Tony

  3. Well, I got the Austrian connection, but I had no idea about the ski jump and so, having little appreciable attention span these days, called it a day. Congratulations to Matt - he's earned it!