Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Siege of Vienna, "Thanks Tigerhawk"

This was found on Tigerhawk's Blog. It is a great summary of siege of 1683 when the Polish led armies of the West stopped the advancing horde of Turkish armies. It was this battle which stopped the advance of Islam on Europe and began the slow retreat of Islam from Western soil. Today the battle continues in the heart of radical Islam. God bless our armies as our brave warriors continue the fight which has been raging for the last 325 years.

Tiger Hawk:
At three o'clock on Sunday afternoon, the twelfth of September 1683, the clang of steel on steel and the deafening gunfire subsided before the walls of besieged Vienna. A titanic battle had been underway since dawn, with the future of Europe dependent on its outcome.

A cobbled together Christian relief force under Poland's King Jan Sobieski had fought its way down from the hills and into the open ground before the city, but the Ottomans resisted tenaciously. The earth had been drinking the blood of soldiers for nine hours without decisive advantage to either side. The Christian infantry was fought out, and the Turks were bringing up their elite reserves. Weakened by hunger and disease, the garrison within the city walls lacked the strength to influence the battle. The strange lull that presages war's fateful moments settled over the plain. An Ottoman army 140,000 strong had advanced on the greatest city in central Europe, the seat of the Austrian Habspurgs and a bulwark of Christendom that had defied repeated Turkish campaigns, assaults and sieges. This time the sultan did not intend to fail. He had dispatched his grand vizier, Kara Mustafa, with the finest soldiery the empire could muster: the corps of janissaries formed of Christian boys taken as tribute and school to Muslim fanaticism, and the Spahis, cavalrymen who had swept away the sultan's enemies from the Danube to the Euphrates.

The Muslim heart of the Ottoman army was wrapped in the muscle of tributary states: Christian auxiliaries swelled the sultan's leviathan force, the contingents of princes and noblemen whose lands had been conquered in generations past. Mercenary French artillery masters directed the Ottoman siege guns, and the king of France, Louis XIV, had concluded an agreement with the sultan not to assist his fellow Christians against their would-be conquerors. For the Sun King, humbling his Habsburg rivals was more important than the fate of Europe. He set a pattern from which the policy of France has only rarely strayed. French diplomats had done their best to dissuade any other European states from sending troops to raise the siege of Vienna. Fearful of Bourbon malice, the states of Italy chose to remain passive, and the Habsburgs could rely upon only the remnants of their battered armies and slight reinforcements from Bavaria and a few lesser German principalities.The numbers were not enough to defeat the massive Ottoman force. Only a single power remained with the strength to save Vienna.

The Poles had defended Europe against Turks and Tatars, against Cossack raids and Muscovite barbarism, for a quarter of a millennium. Attacked on all sides in the mid-seventeenth century -- by Tatars, Turks, Ukrainians and Swedes -- the Poles had nonetheless presesrved their state and further burnished their reputation as dauntless soldiers and devoted Christians.France did all that policy could effect to prevent the Poles from riding southward to rescue the Habsburg Empire. The rough democracy that prevailed among the Polish nobility proved susceptible to French blandishments and threats. Poland's kind could not unite his own country behind his purpose of saving Vienna. Louis XIV and his coutiers at Versailles were certain that France would soon be the dominant power remaining in Europe.In an hour of greatness that leaves the West forever indebted, King Jan decided to march to Vienna with only his household troops and those Polish nobles willing to follow him. Defying France and his own magnates, and still threatened by the appetites of his neighbors, Jan Sobieski risked his crown and his life for his fellow Christians.After uniting his forces with the Habsburg remnants under Charles of Lorraine, King Jan was given overall command for the looming battle. The Austrian emperor -- no soldier -- kept himself at a safe distance from the coming slaughter.

By three o'clock in the afternoon King Jan's plan had carried the battle within a last charge of the city walls, but the Ottomans were far from broken. On horseback atop a hill the king could see the Turkish forces rallying as the janissaries moved into the foremost lines. The Ottoman cavalry wheeled to face the Christian flank, ready to sweep down on the survivors of any failed attack. The day was warm and the sky was clear, and the smoke of the earlier fighting drifted off. For those upon the city walls or ranked on the low hills won in the day's hard fighting, the spectacle of Ottoman might unfolding must have chilled the sweat that greased their spines. Behind King Jan stood twenty thousand horsemen, the West's last hope. Immediately at his back, the shock troops of the Polish kawaleria glittered in their armor, heavy cavalrymen whose equipage resembled that of the knights of past centuries. The force that would have to decide the day were those regiments of the Polish husaria, the greatest cavalrymen of the age and the greatest heroes Europe ever produced. Waiting in their shimmering ranks on the high ground, the Polish hussars were an otherwordly sight. Each rider's height was increased by a pair of feathered wings fixed at his back, giving him the look of a warrior angel. A Polish hussar was a mobile fortress, armored and equipped with a lance, a bow, one or two heavy dragoon pistols, and multiple sabers -- all of which he wielded expertly. With each regiment arrayed in its own color -- blue, green, yellow, red -- and with animal pelts raked over the shoulders of their gleaming breastplates, the riders in the lobsterback helmets were feated throughout Europe's desperate frontiers. Veterans of ceaseless wars, the Polish hussars would have to break through three successive Turkish lines to gain a Christian victory.

At twenty minutes after three o'clock King Jan lifted his mace -- Poland's symbol of military authority.Trumpets blared and kettledrums thumped. The Polish cavalry began to move forward, first at a walk, then increasing their pace to a trot. Spurring to a canter, the riders maintained their ranks with iron discipline. The Turkish cavalry charged across the Ottoman front to face them, screaming their war cries and calling upon Allah.The Polish riders broke into a gallop. Lowering their lances, they shouted "For Jesus and Maria!" Eighty thousand hooves pounded the earth.The forces collided with a roar and a crash of metal. Horses thudded into one another, wild-eyed, rearing, and tumbling to the earth. The lances of the first Polish rank splintered against their targets. The impact hurled the lighter Turkish cavalrymen from their saddles.The hussars smashed through the broken troops of Spahis, drawing their sabers and spurring their horses back to a gallop, howling with the fury of battle and calling once more for the aid of Christ and the Virgin.The charge was catastrophic for the Ottoman army. Dutiful to the last, the janissaries died in place, ridden down by Polish hussars exploding through their defenses, intoxicated by victory. The grand vizier fled, barely escaping as hussars reached the movable palace of his tent, sweeping through the Ottoman camp as soldiers and servants ran madly from the avenging angels of the north.When darkness ended the last skirmishes twenty thousand Ottoman bodies littered the ground. The remainder fled in disorder. Vienna had been rescued. The myth of Ottoman invincibility, already weakened, had been destroyed. Fewer than two thousand Christians lay on the field.

The Ottoman Empire never again posed so serious a threat to the West. For centuries the names of the sultans had resounded, associatede with conquests. Now the names of Christian generals would be remembered, from Prince Eugene to Suvorov and Skobelev. The Ottomans would fight on, but the empire had bled into twilight. All that remain was a long, grim, losing battle against the night as an empire famed for its diversity contracted in body and soul, reduced at last to economic capitulations to Western creditors, to cruelty in lieu of competence, and to the grisly slaughter of the empire's last minorities.The West had won on the continent of Europe, with Christendom saved by a Polish king. Poland's thanks was dismemberment in the next century, as the rulers of Austria, Russia, and Prussia partitioned its territory and drove its heroes abroad to fight for freedom wherever such wars were waged -- and still fought for their homeland in hopeless rebellions.No Europeans fought longer for their freedom and the liberty of others than did the Poles. And none have received less gratitude. The more things change, the more they remain the same.Happy blogiversary!


At 6:49 AM, Blogger joloco said...

Such a short sided view of history. Why not begin 584 years earlier when Christian Europe invaded Muslim Jerusalem and massacred thousands. And that was just the beginning.

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At 8:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi people
I do not know what to give for Christmas of the to friends, advise something ....

At 6:40 PM, Blogger USpace said...

Here's a great idea, next Christmas, Help Open Someone's Eyes to Jihad...

absurd thought -
God of the Universe HATES
The Rage & The Pride

angry at Islam problems
because so many truths hurt


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