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Forum LockedVienna 1683 - 325 anniversary of saving Europe

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    Posted: 08-Sep-2008 at 14:41
These days we have 325 anniversary of the battle of Vienna 1683, when Europe was saved from Ottoman invaders.

Commemoration of this battle will take place 12-14 September in Krakow (Poland), former capital of Poland, which contributed mostly to that victory by sending 30 000 soldiers (including couple thousands of hussars) and commanding the coalition forces (Polish king Jan III Sobieski was the commander of coalition forces).

Little more about the battle, taken from www.wien-vienna.com websites:

Battle of Vienna 1683

The Battle of Vienna took place on September 12, 1683 after Vienna had been besieged by the Ottoman Empire for two months. The battle broke the advance of the Ottoman Empire into Europe, and marked the political hegemony of the Habsburg dynasty in central Europe.

The large-scale battle was won by Polish-Austrian-German forces led by King of Poland John III Sobieski against the Ottoman Empire army commanded by Grand Vizier Merzifonlu Kara Mustafa Pasha.


Polish hussar
(More about Polish husaria: http://www.jasinski.co.uk/wojna/comp/comp06.htm)

The siege itself began on 14 July 1683, by the Ottoman Empire army of approximately 138,000 men (although a large number of these played no part in the battle, as only 50,000 were experienced soldiers (Turks), and the rest less-motivated supporting troops. The decisive battle took place on 12 September, after the united relief army of 70,000 men had arrived, pitted against the Ottoman army.

King John III Sobieski of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth had been made Commander in Chief of:

- his own 30,000-man Polish forces (Lithuanians did not take part in the battle),
- 18,500 Austrian troops led by Charles V, Duke of Lorraine,
- 19,000 Franconian, Swabian and Bavarian troops led by Prince Georg Friedrich of Waldeck,
- 9,000 Saxon troops led by John George III, Elector of Saxony.

The battle marked the turning point in the 300-year struggle between the forces of the Central European kingdoms and the Ottoman Empire. Over the sixteen years following the battle, the Habsburgs of Austria gradually occupied and dominated southern Hungary and Transylvania, which had been largely cleared of the Turkish forces.

Battle of Vienna on September 12, 1683 (Painting: F. Greffels)


Prelude

The capture of the city of Vienna had long been a strategic aspiration of the Ottoman Empire, due to its inter-locking control over Danubean (Black Sea-to-Western Europe) southern Europe, and the overland (Eastern Mediterranean-to-Germany) trade routes. During the years preceding the second siege (the first one was in 1529), under the auspices of grand viziers from the influential Köprülü family, the Ottoman Empire undertook extensive logistical preparations this time, including the repair and establishment of roads and bridges leading into Austria and logistical centers, as well as the forwarding of ammunition, cannon and other resources from all over the Empire to these logistical centers and into the Balkans.

On the political front, the Ottoman Empire had been providing military assistance to the Hungarians and to non-Catholic minorities in Habsburg-occupied portions of Hungary. There, in the years preceding the siege, widespread unrest had become open rebellion upon Leopold I's pursuit of Counter-Reformation principles and his desire to crush Protestantism. In 1681, Protestants and other anti-Habsburg forces, led by Imre Thököly, were reinforced with a significant force from the Ottomans, who recognized Imre as King of "Upper Hungary" (eastern Slovakia and parts of northeastern present-day Hungary, which he had earlier taken by force of arms from the Habsburgs). This support went so far as explicitly promising the "Kingdom of Vienna" to the Hungarians if it fell into Ottoman hands.

Yet, before the siege, a state of peace had existed for twenty years between the Habsburgs and the Ottoman Empire, as a result of the Peace of Vasvár.

In 1681 and 1682, clashes between the forces of Imre Thököly and the Habsburgs' military frontier (which was then northern Hungary) forces intensified, and the incursions of Habsburg forces into Central Hungary provided the crucial argument of Grand Vizier Kara Mustafa Pasha in convincing the Sultan, Mehmet IV and his Divan, to allow the movement of the Ottoman Army. Mehmet IV authorized Kara Mustafa Pasha to operate as far as Győr (Turkish: Yanıkkale, German: Raab) and Komarom (Turkish: Komaron, German: Komorn) castles, both in northwestern Hungary, and to besiege them. The Ottoman Army was mobilized on January 21, 1682, and war was declared on August 6, 1682.

The wording of this declaration left no room for doubt what would await in case of Turkish success. Mehmed IV. wrote to Leopold I verbatim, "Primarily we order You to await Us in Your residence city of Vienna so that We can decapitate You... (...) We will exterminate You and all Your followers... (...) Children and grown-ups will be exposed to the most atrocious tortures before put to an end in the most ignominious way imaginable..."

The forward march of Ottoman Army elements did not begin until April 1, 1683 from Edirne in Thracia. The logistics of the time meant that it would have been risky or impossible to launch an invasion in August or September 1682 (a three month campaign would have got the Turks to Vienna just as winter set in). However this 15 month gap between mobilisation and the launch of a full-scale invasion allowed ample time for the Habsburg forces to prepare their defense and set up alliances with other Central European rulers, and undoubtedly contributed to the failure of the campaign.

During the winter, the Habsburgs and Poland concluded a treaty in which Leopold would support Sobieski if the Turks attacked Kraków; in return, the Polish Army would come to the relief of Vienna, if attacked.

In the spring, the Ottoman army reached Belgrade by early May, then moved toward the city of Vienna. About 40,000 Tatar Forces arrived 40km east of Vienna on 7 July, twice as many as the Austrian forces in that area. After initial fights, Leopold retreated to Linz with 80,000 inhabitants of Vienna.

The King of Poland prepared a relief expedition to Vienna during the summer of 1683, honoring his obligations to the treaty. He went so far as to leave his own nation virtually undefended when departing from Kraków on 15 August. Sobieski covered this with a stern warning to Imre Thököly, the leader of Hungary, whom he threatened with destruction if he tried to take advantage of the situation — which Thököly did.

Kara Mustafa Pasha, Painting 1696


Ernst Rüdiger von Starhemberg, Painting 1683


Events during the siege

The main Turkish army finally invested Vienna on July 14. Graf Ernst Rüdiger von Starhemberg, leader of the remaining 11,000 troops and 5,000 citizens and volunteers, refused to capitulate.

The Viennese had demolished many of the houses around the city walls and cleared the debris, leaving an empty plain that would expose the Turks to defensive fire if they tried to rush the city. Kara Mustafa Pasha solved that problem by ordering his forces to dig long lines of trenches directly toward the city, to help protect them from the defenders as they advanced steadily toward the city.

As their 300 cannon were outdated and the fortifications of Vienna were up to date, the Turks had a more effective use for their gunpowder: undermining. Tunnels were dug under the massive city walls to blow them up with explosives, using sapping mines.

The Ottomans had essentially two options to take the city: the first, an all-out assault, was virtually guaranteed success since they outnumbered the defenders almost 20-1. The second was to lay siege to the city, and this was the option they chose.

This seems against military logic, but assaulting properly defended fortifications has always resulted in very heavy casualties for the attackers. A siege was a reasonable course of action to minimise casualties and capture the city intact, and in fact it nearly succeeded. What the Ottomans did not take into account however was that time was not on their side. Their lack of urgency at this point, combined with the delay in advancing their army after declaring war, eventually allowed a relief force to arrive. Historians have speculated that Kara Mustafa wanted to take the city intact for its riches, and declined an all-out attack in order to prevent the right of plunder which would accompany such an assault.

The Ottoman siege cut virtually every means of food supply into Vienna,[3] and the garrison and civilian volunteers suffered extreme casualties. Fatigue became such a problem that Graf Ernst Rüdiger von Starhemberg ordered any soldier found asleep on watch to be shot. Increasingly desperate, the forces holding Vienna were on their last legs when in August, Imperial forces under Charles V, Duke of Lorraine beat Imre Thököly of Hungary at Bisamberg, 5km northeast of Vienna.

On 6 September, the Poles crossed the Danube 30km north west of Vienna at Tulln, to unite with the Imperial forces and additional troops from Saxony, Bavaria, Baden, Franconia and Swabia who had answered the call for a Holy League that was supported by Pope Innocent XI. Only Louis XIV of France, Habsburg's rival, not only declined to help, but used the opportunity to attack cities in Alsace and other parts of southern Germany, as in the Thirty Years' War decades earlier.

During early September, the experienced 5000 Turkish sappers repeatedly blew up large portions of the walls, the Burg bastion, the Löbel bastion and the Burg ravelin in between, creating gaps of about 12m in width. The Austrians tried to counter by digging their own tunnels, to intercept the depositing of large amounts of gunpowder in subterranean caverns. The Turks finally managed to occupy the Burg ravelin and the Nieder wall in that area on 8 September. Anticipating a breach in the city walls, the remaining Austrians prepared to fight in Vienna itself.

Staging the battle

The relief army had to act quickly to save the city from the Turks and to prevent another long siege in case they would take it. Despite the international composition and the short time of only six days, an effective leadership structure was established, indisputedly centered on the King of Poland and his heavy cavalry. The motivation was high, as this war was not as usual for the interests of kings, but for Christian faith. And, unlike the crusades, the battleground was in the heart of Europe.

Kara Mustafa Pasha, on the other hand, was less effective, despite having months of time to organize his forces, ensure their motivation and loyalty, and prepare for the expected relief army attack. He had entrusted defence of the rear to the Khan of Crimea and his cavalry force, which numbered about 30,000.

There are serious questions as to how much the Tatar forces participated in the final battle at Vienna. Their Khan felt humiliated by repeated snubs by Kara Mustafa and reportedly refused to make a strike against the Polish relief force as it crossed the mountains, where the heavy cavalry would have been vulnerable to such an assault from the lighthorse Tatars. Nor were they the only component of the Ottoman army to openly defy Mustafa and to refuse assignments.

This left vital bridges undefended and allowed passage of the combined Habsburg-Polish army, which arrived to relieve the siege. Critics of this account say that it was Kara Mustafa Pasha, and not the Crimean Khan, who was held responsible for the failure of the siege. Also, the Ottomans could not rely on their wallachian and moldavian allies. These peoples had a significant hatred of the ottomans who were bleeding their countries dry of all their resources. In the years prior to the siege, the turks intervened many times to change the princes in these countries, so as to keep a tight grip on them. Knowing of the turkish plans, the princes of Moldavia and Wallachia try to warn the Habsburgs. Initially they tried to stand up to the ottomans and not join the campaign, but they were pressed-ganged into the joint strike force. There are a great deal of popular legends about the involvement and comittement of these principalities in the siege. Almost invariably, these legends describe the wallachian and moldavian forces loading their cannons with straw balls,so as to make no impact upon the walls of the besieged city.

The Holy League forces arrived on the "Kahlen Berg" (bare hill) above Vienna, signaling their arrival with bonfires. In the early morning hours of 12 September, before the battle, a mass was held for King Sobieski.

The battle

The battle started before all units were fully deployed. Early in the morning at 4:00, Turkish forces opened hostilities to interfere with the Holy League's troop deployment. A move forward was made by Charles, the Austrian army on the left, and the German forces in the center.

Mustafa Pasha launched a counter-attack, with most of his force, but holding back parts of the elite Janissary and Sipahi for the invasion of the city. The Turkish commanders had intended to take Vienna before Sobieski arrived, but time ran out. Their sappers had prepared another large and final detonation under the Löbelbastei, to provide access to the city. While the Turks hastily finished their work and sealed the tunnel to make the explosion more effective, the Austrian "moles" detected the cavern in the afternoon. One of them entered and defused the load just in time.

At that time, above the "subterranean battlefield", a large battle was going on, as the Polish infantry had launched a massive assault upon the Turkish right flank. Instead of focusing on the battle with the relief army, the Turks tried to force their way into the city, carrying their crescent flag.

Battle of Vienna 1683, Painting 1689


After 12 hours of fighting, Sobieski's Polish force held the high ground on the right. At about five o'clock in the afternoon, after watching the ongoing infantry battle from the hills for the whole day, four cavalry groups, one of them Austrian-German, and the other three Polish, totaling over 20,000 men, charged down the hills. The attack was led by the Polish king in front of a spearhead of 3000 heavily armed winged Polish lancer hussars. This charge broke the lines of the Ottomans, who were tired from the long fight on two sides. In the confusion, the cavalry headed straight for the Ottoman camps, while the remaining Vienna garrison sallied out of its defenses and joined in the assault.

The Ottoman army were tired and dispirited following the failure of both the sapping attempt and the brute force assault of the city, and the arrival of the cavalry turned the tide of battle against them, sending them into retreat to the south and east. In less than three hours after the cavalry attack, the Christian forces had won the battle and saved Vienna from capture.

After the battle, Sobieski paraphrased Julius Caesar's famous quote by saying "veni, vidi, Deus vicit" - "I came, I saw, God conquered"

King of Poland, Jan III Sobieski

Aftermath

The Turks lost about 15,000 men in the fighting, compared to approximately 4,000 for the Habsburg-Polish forces. Though routed and in full retreat, the Turkish troops had found time to slaughter all their Austrian prisoners, with the exception of those few of nobility which they took with them for ransoming.

The loot that fell into the hands of the Holy League troops and the Viennese was as huge as their relief, as King Sobieski vividly described in a letter to his wife a few days after the battle: "Ours are treasures unheard of ... tents, sheep, cattle and no small number of camels ... it is victory as nobody ever knew of, the enemy now completely ruined, everything lost for them. They must run for their sheer lives ... Commander Starhemberg hugged and kissed me and called me his savior."

This emotional expression of gratitude did not distract Starhemberg from ordering the immediate repair of Vienna's severely damaged fortifications, guarding against a possible Turkish counterstrike. However, this proved unneccessary. The victory at Vienna set the stage for Prince Eugene of Savoy's reconquering of Hungary and (temporarily) some of the Balkan countries within the following years. Austria signed a peace treaty with the Ottoman Empire in 1697.

Long before that, the Turks had disposed of their defeated commander. On 25 December 1683, Kara Mustafa Pasha was executed in Belgrade (in the approved manner, by strangulation with a silk rope pulled by several men on each end) by order of the commander of the Janissaries.

Article about battle of Vienna 1683, at historynet.com sites:
http://www.historynet.com/turning-the-ottoman-tide-john-iii-sobieski-at-vienna-1683.htm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ulrich von hutten Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Sep-2008 at 17:04

1) might be Europe wasn't saved, but constrained in developing to free and liberal countries. Instead of being ruled by a small-minded nobility and clergy for further centuries.

and 2) please  refrain from this paste and copy things without any own and personal aspects to this matter. Thank you

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bartoha Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Sep-2008 at 17:13
Yup, for sure for Iceland those events and this battle didn't matter. In any case you wouldn't be troubeled if coalition would lose that battle Smile

And article I posted is from official www.wien-vienna.com sites, so it is not personal view. You' re welcome.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Aelfgifu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Sep-2008 at 17:34

Indeed it is not your personal view, which is precisely the problem. If you want to copy/paste such a large article, a little input of your own, your opinion on the subject, or analysation of the event, or even your reasons for posting it are greatly appreciated. If you do not add any of these, we cannot but assume you agree to the article, and consider the words as something you would have said yourself.

In it's present form, your post is little more than spam. Please enlighten us with your views.



Edited by Aelfgifu - 08-Sep-2008 at 17:35

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bartoha Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Sep-2008 at 17:45
I understand, I am trying at least ;).

Posting an article from offical website I wanted to avoid accusations of "promoting Polish point of view" or something like "Polish propaganda". I just wanted to show the voice from the city which was saved by Polish military expedition, without putting my own opinion on this subject, to avoid - as I said - accusations on impartiality.

Well, you asked about my own opinion. My own opinion is that this operation was huge Polish mistake, and Polish king Sobieski, who was excellent warrior and commander, but I think poor politician.

Poland didn't have any interest in helping Habsburgs of Austria. Our main, rising opponent, was Russia at that time. As well it was main opponent for Turkey. Instead of fighting each other we should try to sign an alliance together against Russia. For someone it could be irrational - catholic state (Poland) in alliance with muslim (Turkey), but even at that time it was possible - see the French- Turkish alliance at Mediterranean.

The results of that mistake we see very soon, not even 100 years later, in 1772, Austria participates in first partition of Poland. This process ends in 1795 when Poland dissapears for 123 years from map of Europe. That is "gratefulness" of saving Vienna in 1683 Wink
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Aelfgifu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Sep-2008 at 18:48
But do you not think that if Poland had chosen otherwise, for instance with the Turks against the Russians, as you suggest, that it would have been the Turks that would have taken the future of Poland in their own hands, instead of the Habsburgs?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bartoha Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Sep-2008 at 19:01
Well, it will - for sure - sounds selfconfident, but before this battle we fought with Turks many times. And for sure we would be able to defend ourselves, no doubt of that, basing on historical facts. Besides of that - engaged together against common opponet we would have more common interests than problems between ourselves. Anyway that is only historical speculation .. pity .. for that Polish mistakes from 17th century Poland is paying till today, and not only Poland ..
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Sep-2008 at 19:38

Hello to you all

The battle of Vienna was just another battle in history between two empires competing for land, nothing more nothing less. Even if the Ottomans took Vienna nothing will change, the cost of occupation and the huge overstreatch (Vienna is about 1200 km away from Istanbul and there was no real road system at that time) of the empire will force it to abandon the city eventually. The ottoman empire by the 1680s was already a spent force. Corruption was official, it was years behind europe in technology and science and just an alliance as big as the holy alliance would end its grip.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Temujin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Sep-2008 at 19:39
no one at that time could have known how future events would eventually unfold. at the moment i have no reason to see this different as another Polish military worshipping. first, only the stiff ressistance of Vienna made the later expedition even possible which seems easily forgotten.
this expedition was only led because Sobieski was the highest ranking noble of those (king) as opposed to the other German princes individually. the Polish troops of the reliefing force were outnumbered by the German contingents and in the battle the Poles on the right wing joined the battle last and at a point when the German left wing had already defeated the Turkish right wing. i really see no point to exaggerate the Polish contribution. and finally, europe was not "saved", first because the Ottomans were not some infidel barbarians and secondly because the Balkans IS part of europe and it was Ottoman already.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bartoha Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Sep-2008 at 20:04
Everything above seems to be true.

One point about Polish troops outnumbered by others. Sure it is true. But the case of Polish troops always was not a question of quantity but quality. That is why Poles won tens of battles with opponent stronger couple times (one of examples: Battle of Klushino 1610 - 6500 Polish hussars against 40 000 Russians and Swedish, Poles won, taking Moscow later, there are tens of more examples). And that is why Holy Pope and Habsburg delegates were asking on their knees Polish king for help.

This battle was fundamental for Europe because it saved Habsburgs, who later built empire in this part of Europe. As I said - it was Polish mistake, huge one, with terrible consequences for Poland later. But anyway, it decided about the fate of Europe later, unfortunatelly ..
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Roberts Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Sep-2008 at 20:19
What Poland, there was no such state in that time, but instead - The Republic of Both Nations.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bartoha Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Sep-2008 at 20:31
Originally posted by Roberts Roberts wrote:

What Poland, there was no such state in that time, but instead - The Republic of Both Nations.


Svejke! Kat te vie? ;)

Republic of Both Nations consisted of Kingdom of Poland and Duchy of Lithuania ;)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Roberts Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Sep-2008 at 21:11
Originally posted by Bartoha Bartoha wrote:


Svejke! Kat te vie? ;)

Paldies, Labi. You almost got the letter order right (Ka tev iet) :D
Quote
Republic of Both Nations consisted of Kingdom of Poland and Duchy of Lithuania ;)

Yes.
Anyway, I for one think that one of the main reasons which led to the fall of PLC (Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth) was that the cities and towns weren't represented in parliament, which excluded the most economically active part of state's population - merchants and manufacturers. So the agrarian nobility was left there unchallanged.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bartoha Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Sep-2008 at 21:23
Originally posted by Roberts Roberts wrote:

[QUOTE=Bartoha]
Paldies, Labi. You almost got the letter order right (Ka tev iet) :D

Yes.
Anyway, I for one think that one of the main reasons which led to the fall of PLC (Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth) was that the cities and towns weren't represented in parliament, which excluded the most economically active part of state's population - merchants and manufacturers. So the agrarian nobility was left there unchallanged.


Well, I am not fluent in Latvian Wink.

Yes, you touched the right point, absolutely, if you add 17th century of permanent wars, fundamental mistakes in Polish foreign and internal policy, and some external factors (rising Prussia and Russia) - all of these in the end resulted in further events and disappearing of Poland from map of Europe in 1795 for 123 years. 1683 and the Battle of Vienna, about which is this topic, was one of the last "big moments" in the history of Kingdom of Poland.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Reginmund Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Sep-2008 at 19:52
I don't see why ulrich and Aelfgifu were so eager to crack down on this thread. Sure, it's mostly just a pasted article, but since this is a thread about the 325th anniversary of the siege of Vienna it's only appropriate to include some text on what all the hubbub is about, in case some readers aren't too familiar with the incident. Bartoha even stated his source to begin with, which is more than what most would have done, and I can see no problems with it. I can only surmise that our moderators were somewhat prejudiced and assumed this was another muslim-bashing thread by a Pole.

So much for that. I see significance of the Polish contribution in this battle was somewhat less decisive than what it is often made out to be. Even so, what cannot be denied is that the Poles looked ten times more stylish than their German counterparts, and that alone is worthy of praise - it's not what you do, but how you look while doing it. Cool

And Bartoha, while I'm not denying the quality of the Polish troops, that was not the primary reason why they won such an astounding victory at Klushino. Most importantly the Russians had no idea of how much they outnumbered their opponent, and when a false rumour was circulated that their foreign mercenaries were defecting to the Poles morale plummeted and the entire center of the Russian army deserted. There were still plenty of Russians and mercenaries left on the wings to give the Poles a good fight, but without support from the center these could be picked off individually, making it possible for the Poles to win a battle that under normal circumstances would have been impossible.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote eaglecap Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Sep-2008 at 20:06
It was a victory for all of Europe and eventually, with the Ottoman Empire dying, a victory with the coming Greek revolution.

I wonder how history would read if the Turks had been victorious and spread on into present day Germany. Would the great cathedrals of Europe been turned into Mosques? Seems the Ottoman Empire met the same fate as the Roman Empire and slowly died.
Well then, brothers and fellow citizens and soldiers, remember this in order that your memorial, your fame and freedom will be eternal.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bartoha Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Sep-2008 at 20:31
Originally posted by eaglecap eaglecap wrote:


It was a victory for all of Europe and eventually, with the Ottoman Empire dying, a victory with the coming Greek revolution.

I wonder how history would read if the Turks had been victorious and spread on into present day Germany. Would the great cathedrals of Europe been turned into Mosques? Seems the Ottoman Empire met the same fate as the Roman Empire and slowly died.

Well, from that point of view I think that this perspective is quite possible, taking into consideration evolution of situation in European Union, especially in countries like Germany or France ...

Originally posted by Reginmund Reginmund wrote:


And Bartoha, while I'm not denying the quality of the Polish troops, that was not the primary reason why they won such an astounding victory at Klushino. Most importantly the Russians had no idea of how much they outnumbered their opponent, and when a false rumour was circulated that their foreign mercenaries were defecting to the Poles morale plummeted and the entire center of the Russian army deserted. There were still plenty of Russians and mercenaries left on the wings to give the Poles a good fight, but without support from the center these could be picked off individually, making it possible for the Poles to win a battle that under normal circumstances would have been impossible.

Well, that is right. But all that situation was exactly the result of let's use this word - quality of husaria: after all night march, they faced about 8 times stronger enemy. Although tired after marching they immediatelly go to battle against that enemy, they are charging 10 times Russian and Swedish lines, crushing all lances and then using sabres. That is why Swedish started to flee from battlefield, and then Russians.

And because of this kind of facts lot of mercenary units in Europe, before they signed a contract with "employer" then often demanded the condition in the contract that they will never fight against husaria. And if somehow, after signing such a contract, were to fight with husaria - they simple were leaving battlefield ;).

And Klushino 1610 is just one of tens examples, take Kircholm 1605: 14 000 Swedish and 3800 Poles - result: after 20 minutes of battle Swedish are completely beaten, and after that 9000 of them died. After that battle commander of Poles received congratulations even from Persian Shah, Turkish Sultan, not mentioning about Pope, king Jacob of Great Britain and couple more persons, everybody was shocked by this success achieved against quite well organised army of Swedish King Gustav IX.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ataman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Sep-2008 at 05:47
Originally posted by Reginmund Reginmund wrote:

I see significance of the Polish contribution in this battle was somewhat less decisive than what it is often made out to be.
 
I have too much job to be an active member of the forum, but in this situation I have to add my 2 cents.
 
Nobody deny that it was victory of allied not just Polish army. But there is an old tradition in German speaking countries to minimize contribution of the Poles. Temujin comments fit to this tradition very well.
 
Originally posted by Temujin Temujin wrote:

 
this expedition was only led because Sobieski was the highest ranking noble of those (king) as opposed to the other German princes individually.
 
And because Sobieski had the most extensive experience in fighting Ottomans. And because Sobieski had the most of successes in fighting Ottomans. And because Polish contribution in allied army was the biggest (read below).
 
Originally posted by Temujin Temujin wrote:

 
the Polish troops of the reliefing force were outnumbered by the German contingents
 
Polish troops were indeed outnumbered by all German-Austrian contingents, but neither German contingents nor the Austrian one, comparing them separetely, were more numerous than the Polish one. Yes, even Austrian (empirial) contingent was less numerous than Polish one.
 
Originally posted by Temujin Temujin wrote:

 
and in the battle the Poles on the right wing joined the battle last and at a point when the German left wing had already defeated the Turkish right wing.
 
They joined last, because they had the most difficult terrain to cross. The left allied wing was the first in the battle, because there was the easiest terrain in front of this part of the allied army.
Moreover, the Poles fought also at the left wing (Lubomirski's pulk + part of 'winged' hussars).
Moreover the Poles (Polish cavalry) were deployed in the first line of the army because they had the best cavalry. German cavalrymen were deployed behind them.
Moreover, Turkish right wing was defeated also because when the Poles reached the top of Vienna mountains, Ottomans seeing new danger, began to move part of their right wing against the Poles.
Moreover, after the battle even German officers and soldiers credited Polish army with victory the most. They are just German historians who feel somehow uncomfortable to confirm it.


Edited by ataman - 10-Sep-2008 at 14:54
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Beylerbeyi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Sep-2008 at 14:40
I think the article is a good one. The numbers make sense. No garbage like '500000 Ottomans killed, with 1000 Catholics wounded' written by 'best generals' types. 
 
Of course, the title of the thread is unfortunate, and the commentary in the beginning:
Quote These days we have 325 anniversary of the battle of Vienna 1683, when Europe was saved from Ottoman invaders.
is rubbish, as other pointed out. As so-called 'Europe' was not so-called 'saved' from anybody at this time.
 
As to the subject, this attempt was probably biggest case of Ottoman imperial overreach. They were not really in the position to mount such an undertaking in 1683, and they paid for it dearly. All contemporary Ottoman records refer to it as a disaster, and (more recent?) Turkish sources tend to put the blame on the Tatars (as mentioned in the article). 
 
As to the idea that this was a strategic mistake for Poland, well, it is quite obvious, really. No point in helping an ascendant Russia and Austria defeat the declining Ottomans. Maybe it has something to do with their conflicts with the Crimean Tatars, who were Ottoman subjects. Or possibly they expected to gain some territory near the Black Sea. I am not sure of their motivation in joining the alliance against the Ottomans.
 
Ottomans themselves had no interest in conquering the lands beyond the Danube, except those around the Black Sea. They had an interest in making them vassals, but they lacked the power or means to do it in the 17th century. Like the posters mentioned, Poland was perfectly capable of defending itself against a full-scale Ottoman invasion. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Temujin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Sep-2008 at 20:49
Originally posted by ataman ataman wrote:

 
Nobody deny that it was victory of allied not just Polish army. But there is an old tradition in German speaking countries to minimize contribution of the Poles. Temujin comments fit to this tradition very well.
 


nonsense, there is no such tradition at all, even books from 1905 do give credit of winning to King Sobieski. i don't deny any of your points but recent trend by Polish history enthusiasts is to completely ignore the existence of German allies at all and overemphasize the role of Poles (Hussars & Sobieski). it's quite easy that Poles outnumbered all German contingents individually because poland was the largest european country and the German princes had very small countries. takign this into cosndiderationt he Polish cotnribution is not so great afterall.
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