Author Topic: Polish Winged Hussars fighting Ukraine  (Read 3771 times)

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Polish Winged Hussars fighting Ukraine
« on: 22:34 11-Nov-2007 »
Heres another fascinating episode from the annals of Polish & Ukrainian history. The Polish Winged Hussars.
Hussars first appeared on european battlefields during the renaissance period. Originally of hungarian origin - the Polish Army of the sixteenth century incorporated them into their cavalry regiments to replace the heavier medieval lancers.
Initially the first hussar units in the Kingdom of Poland were formed by the Sejm (Polish parliament) in 1503, which hired three banners of Hungarian mercenaries. Quickly recruitment also began among Polish and Lithuanian citizens. Being far more maneuvrable than the heavily armoured lancers previously employed, the hussars proved vital to the Polish Crown and Grand Duchy of Lithuania with victories at Orsza (1514) and Obertyn (1531). Gradually by the 1580's the hussars had replaced medieval-style lancers in the Polish Crown and Grand Duchy of Lithuania army, and now formed the bulk of the Polish and Lithuanian cavalry.

The charge of the Polish hussars terrified the Turks, Tartars, Muscovite boyars, Ukrainian cossacks and Swedes, who did everything to avoid fighting them directly in battle.
They virtually ruled the eastern european battlefields right up to the siege of Vienna by the Turks in 1683.

Polish Hussars were also famous for the huge 'wings' worn on their backs or attached to the saddles of their horses.

There are several theories to explain their meaning. According to some they were designed to foil attacks by Tatar lassoos; another theory has it that the vibrating of feathers attached to the wings during the charge made a strange sound that frightened enemy horses. However, experiments carried out by re-enactors and movie-makers since the 1970s and more recently by Polish historians in 2001 contradict such ideas. Possibly the wings were worn only during parades and not during combat, but this explanation is also disputed.

Anyway having set the scene - lets see the Polish winged hussars in action with a series of films called - Poles fighting for the Ukraine.

Poles fighting for the Ukraine part1:

Poles fighting for the Ukraine part2:

Poles fighting for the Ukraine part3:

Heres a film clip of the Polish winged hussars attacking a Swedish regiment during the Polish - Swedish wars of the 17th century.

Polish winged hussars in action again at the battle for Vienna in 1683:

« Last Edit: 04:10 12-Nov-2007 by Campervan »

The first in the field and the last from the Taverna.