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Encyclopedia > Polish Hussars
Commonwealth Hussar, wings visible. Painting by Aleksander Orłowski.

The Polish Hussars (Polish: Husaria) were a main part of the Polish Army (and later, the Polish-Lithuanian Army) between the 16th and 18th centuries. The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth had adopted the hussars from Hungary. When the unit type was first adopted, it was a light cavalry formation, and later it transformed into heavy cavalry. Until the 18th century it was the most famous elite unit of the Commonwealth. This image has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder, its copyright has expired, or it is ineligible for copyright. ... This image has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder, its copyright has expired, or it is ineligible for copyright. ... Self-portrait Aleksander Orłowski (1777–1832) was a Polish painter and sketch maker, pioneer of litography in Russia. ... Polish Army (Polish Wojsko Polskie) is the name applied to the military forces of Poland. ... Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Polish (Winged) Hussar Hussar (original Hungarian spelling: huszár, plural huszárok, Polish: Husaria) refers to a number of types of cavalry used throughout Europe since the 15th century. ... An army unit consisting of mounted soldiers are commonly known as cavalry. ... An army unit consisting of mounted soldiers are commonly known as cavalry. ...

Contents

History

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 victories at Orsza (1514) and Obertyn (1531). By the reign of King Stefan Batory the hussars had replaced medieval-style lancers in the Polish Crown and Grand Duchy of Lithuania army, and they now formed the bulk of the Polish cavalry. The Kingdom of Poland of the Jagiellons was the Polish state in the years between the death of Casimir III in 1370 and the Union of Lublin in 1569. ... The Sejm building in Warsaw. ... Mercenary (disambiguation). ... Polish uhlans from Duchy of Warsaw army Uhlans (in Polish: UÅ‚an also spelled Ulan, German, from Turkish oÄŸlan [1]) were originally Polish light cavalry soldiers armed with lances, sabres, pistols, rifles; later they also served in the Prussian and Austrian armies. ... This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... The Grand Duchy of Lithuania (Lithuanian: , Ruthenian: Wialikaje Kniastwa Litowskaje, Ruskaje, Å»amojckaje, Belarusian: , Ukrainian: , Polish: , Latin: ) was an Eastern and Central European state of the 12th[1] /13th century until the 18th century. ... The Battle of Orsha took place September 8, 1514, between the forces of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and Kingdom of Poland (less than 30,000 troops), under the command of Hetman Konstanty Ostrogski, and the army of Muscovy under Konyushy (конюший, Tsars... Combatants Poland Principality of Moldavia Commanders Jan Amor Tarnowski Petru RareÅŸ Strength 4484 cavarly 1167 infantry 1143 firearms 12 cannon 17 000 cavarly 50 cannon Casualties 256 killed 7746 killed 1000 captured 50 cannon lost The Battle of Obertyn (September 22, 1531) was fought between Moldavian Prince Petru RareÅŸ and... For other persons of the same name, see Báthory. ... French Republican Guard - May 8, 2005 celebrations Cavalry (from French cavalerie) were soldiers or warriors who fought mounted on horseback in combat. ...


Over the course of the 1500s hussars in Hungary had become heavier in character: they had abandoned wooden shields and adopted plate metal body armour. When Stefan Batory, a Transylvanian-Hungarian prince, became king of Poland in 1576 he reorganized the Polish-Lithuanian hussars of his Royal Guard along Hungarian lines, making them a heavy formation, equipped with a long lance as their main weapon. By the 1590s most Polish-Lithuanian hussar units had been reformed along the same 'heavy' Hungarian model. These Polish 'heavy' hussars were known in their homeland as husaria. For other persons of the same name, see Báthory. ... Poland was ruled by dukes (c. ...


With the Battle of Lubiszew in 1577 the 'Golden Age' of the husaria began. Until the Battle of Vienna in 1683, the Polish-Lithuanian hussars fought countless actions against a variety of enemies, and rarely lost a battle. In the battles of Battle of Lubiszew in 1577, Byczyna (1588), Kokenhausen (1601), Kircholm (1605), Kłuszyn (1610), Trzciana (1629), Chocim (1673) and Lwów (1675), the Polish-Lithuanian hussars proved to be the decisive factor often against overwhelming odds. This article does not cite any references or sources. ... // For siege of Vienna in 1529 see Siege of Vienna Combatants Holy League: Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Austria, Saxony, Franconia, Swabia, Bavaria Ottoman Empire, Khanate of Crimea, Transylvania, Wallachia, Moldavia Commanders John III Sobieski, Charles V of Lorraine Kara Mustafa Pasha Strength 70,000, (10,000 during siege) 138,000, (200... Combatants Poland Austria Commanders Jan Zamojski Maximilian III of Austria Strength 3700 cavalry, 2300 infantry 6000 infantry Casualties 1000 2000 The Battle of Byczyna took place on January 24 1588 between polish-lithuanian army of new elected polish king Sigismund III Vasa under command of hetman Jan Zamojski and austrian... Combatants Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth Sweden Commanders Jan Karol Chodkiewicz, Grand Hetman of Lithuania Charles IX, King of Sweden Strength 1,300 infantry 2,500 cavalry 5 guns 9,000 infantry 3,000 cavalry 11 guns Casualties 100 dead 200 wounded 8,000 dead The Battle of Kircholm (September 27, 1605... Conflict Dymitriads - Polish-Muscovite War of 1609-1618 Date July 4, 1610 Place Village of Kluszyn, between Vyazma and Mozhaysk Result Polish victory The Battle of Kluszyn (Klushino) was fought on July 4th, 1610, between forces of the Russia during Russias Time of Troubles. ... Combatants Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth Sweden Commanders StanisÅ‚aw Koniecpolski, Field Crown Hetman of Poland Gustav Adolf, King of Sweden Strength 1,300 hussars 1,200 light cavalry 2,000 reiters 4,000 cavalry 5,000 infantry Casualties 250 dead over 1,000 dead 500 captured The Battle of Trzciana (June... Khotin fortress overlooks the Dniester river Khotyn (Хотин, Polish: Chocim; Romanian: Hotin; Russian: Хотин, Khotin) is a town in the Chernivetska oblast of Ukraine. ... Battle of Lwów refers to a battle between the armies of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Turkey that took place near the city of Lwów (now Lviv) on August 24, 1675. ...


In all of these battles, they were victorious despite the fact that the hussars often had fewer men than their opponents. In the Battle of Kluszyn, the Russians had 35,000 troops, Crown of Poland only 6,800. However Poland came out of the battle as the victor. Conflict Dymitriads - Polish-Muscovite War of 1609-1618 Date July 4, 1610 Place Village of Kluszyn, between Vyazma and Mozhaysk Result Polish victory The Battle of Kluszyn (Klushino) was fought on July 4th, 1610, between forces of the Russia during Russias Time of Troubles. ...


The hussars have also suffered occasional defeats, particularly during the Chmielnicki Uprising (Battle of Żółte Wody, 1648). Chmielnicki Uprising or Chmielnicki Rebellion is the name of a civil war in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in the years 1648–1654. ... Combatants Zaporozhian Cossack Army Crimean Tatars Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth Commanders Bohdan Khmelnytsky Tuhaj Bej Stefan Potocki Stefan Czarniecki Strength 5,000 Zaporizhian cossacks and 3,000-4,000 Tatars later 6,000 Registered Cossacks joned Khmelnytsky )[1] 10,000 later 6,000 Registered Cossacks joned Khmelnytsky [1] Casualties Unknown, but...


In the 17th century, firearms improved and melee cavalry became unable to break infantry formations. By the 18th century, hussars were obsolete units, good for military parades but not for combat. A firearm is a kinetic energy weapon that fires either a single or multiple projectiles propelled at high velocity by the gases produced by action of the rapid confined burning of a propellant. ... For other meanings of the term, see melée (disambiguation). ... This article does not cite its references or sources. ...


Tactics

The Polish-Lithuanian hussars' primary battle tactic was the charge. They carried the charge to, and through the enemy. This was a key to their victories. They also tended to repeat the charge several times until the enemy formation broke (they had supply wagons with spare lances). The charging attack, and heavy weight of their armour and horses guaranteed victory for nearly two centuries. The hussars fought with a long lance, a szabla (sabre), 1 or 2 pistols, and often with a carbine or arquebus, known in Polish as a bandolet. Look up charge in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Szabla in general is the Polish generic term for a sabre. ...


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. Most probably the wings were worn only during parades and not during combat, but this explanation is also disputed.


Gallery

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Hussar Armour

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