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Monday, 17 February 2014

The Love To Our Country Is Our Law

Dear friends,

I know not if you ever heard of the mighty and brave hussars before but I thought I should tell you a bit about them today. As an expat you get to find out and learn a lot of things about the country that has "adopted" you - your second home. One of the few things I knew about Poland, when moving here, was the high connection with the World War 2, the Warsaw Uprising, Schindler's List/Factory, Auschwitz and Birkenau and all related to the extermination of the jews + their most wonderful army of hussars.
That, my dearies, is a Hussar Armour
"It is chivalry that has no equal in the world;
without seeing it with your own eyes,
its vigor and splendor is impossible to imagine."
Cosimo Brunetti, 1676
When we went out for a walk on our way to visit our friends, in the wonderful Saturday or 8th February, I had the chance to see up close a bit of Krakow's Street Art. I know you did not see any Street Art on my blog for quite a while, and I am sorry about that, but there was nothing new to show - the winter does not make us very eager for long walks due to the low temperatures.
Towards the ending of the city, as you go straight from Aleea 29 Listopada and further on to Warsaw Street you will pass a bridge with multiple paintings history related. I took some pictures for you so you would see them ;) The most noticeable face on the walls for me was Jan Sobieski - John III Sobieski (Polish: Jan III Sobieski, Lithuanian: Jonas Sobieskis; 17 August 1629 – 17 June 1696) was one of the most notable monarchs of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, from 1674 until his death King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania. Sobieski's 22-year-reign was marked by a period of the Commonwealth's stabilization, much needed after the turmoil of the Deluge and Khmelnytsky Uprising. Popular among his subjects, he was an able military commander, most famous for the victory over the Turks in the 1683 Battle of Vienna ( where, by the way, he used the Winged Hussars). Following his victories over the Ottoman Empire, he was called by the Turks the "Lion of Lechistan" and held as the saviour of European Christendom by the pope. (source)
I believe that people that know at least a bit of history and that are interested in military related subjects - like for example tactics - should know about the wonderful and fearless Polish cavalry. The Polish cavalry - and particulary the Winged Hussars - should be recognized as one of the most kick arse and hardcore people that ever roamed this World. The hussars were daring, brave and powerful and had the most awesome costumes in the history of wars/fighting and such. To be noted that they were able to defeat repeatedly and during multiple years armies at least 3 times their size with nothing more than a huge lance, a sword, the iron armour on their backs and the huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge (but very cool and frightening at the same time!) wings on their back!
The hussars appeared on the books and in the scene sometimes in the early 16th century as part of a hammer-smashing army made out of stone under the Hungarian King Stefan Bathory. Bathory (who fought the Turks alongside Vlad the Impaler - yup, that is the one and only Romanian Vlad - and was an ancestor of the infamous virgin-cidal blood countess and psychopath Elizabeth Bathory), basically levied the cavalry force by conscripting one out of every twenty Polish and Lithuanian peasants to strap on a pair of wings and a suit of heavy armor and start piercing the faces of anyone insane enough to step to Eastern Europe.  Over the next two hundred years, the random people selected were transformed into an anvil of justice that would go against anything and anyone and wipe them out, as long as they would keep their country safe and sound!
I believe that their motto tottaly makes sense: "Amor Patriae Nostra Lex" - which basically means "The Love To Our Country Is Our Law". The combat record of the Winged Hussars stands for itself.  In 1577 a massive charge of this ultra-heavy cavalry unit smashed a German army from Danzig, blitzing into the teeth of a 12,000 man force and crushing them until all that remained was a well-trampled patch of red where the enemy army once used to be. Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth losses in the battle totaled about 88 men, and most of those clowns weren't even Hussars.  In 1601, a thousand Hussars defeated a Swedish cavalry force four times that size.
At the Battle of Kircholm four years later, the Hussars (whose commanders' completely badass motto was "Kill First, Calculate Later"), sent 1,000 lancers in a charge against 11,000 Swedish infantrymen and cannons for some reason, and incredibly, despite the ridiculous idiocy of sending your elite troops on such an impossible mission, the Hussars jammed their poles into anything they could find and not only emerged victorious, but utterly slaughtered their opponents army, hacking the broken infantry units into giblets as they fled the field. 
Amazingly, that wasn't even the most impressive shit this mobile last stand accomplished in its proud heritage as the Commonwealth's premier exporter of busted-up faces. At the Battle of Klushino in 1610, the Hussars were outnumbered ten to one, and still somehow came out on top, utterly annihilating an army of 40,000 Swedes and Russians with just 4,000 lancers.
The Hussars were also super-well-trained, capable of changing directions and altering their formations in mid-charge, and then plowing through their enemy, circling around, and hitting them again from the rear.  In case you've never seen footage of a well-executed cavalry charge before, this is kind of like the equine equivalent of the Blue Angels doing all of their trademark death-defying stunts while in the middle of a dogfight. I don't care who you are, this has to kind of screw with your head a little...(source)
Now this is just a brief boast of their victories and accomplishments but if you want to read more there is unlimited data on the Internet and if you are Polish it is just easier of you would start reading the trilogy by Henryk Sienkiewicz - that will give you at least a head start ;) 

Yours truly,
A LadyBug Expat In Love With Hussars.