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Rodolfo Martínez




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PostPosted: Thu 26 Apr, 2007 12:14 pm    Post subject: Hungarian cavalry at Mohacs         Reply with quote

Hello guys.

I was reading something about Polish hussars and i was told that ther were Hungarian hussars too. I asked my friend and he told me that those hussars fought at Mohacs. So, my question is, How XVI century Hungarian Heavy cavalry looked like? Did they used hussars or they used a condottieri or gendarme like cavalry? What about their weponry?

Thanks.

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Hisham Gaballa





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PostPosted: Thu 26 Apr, 2007 2:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've seen an Ottoman miniature painting which shows the Hungarian cavalry as men-at-arms wearing full plate armour and either close helmets or burgonets.

Click on the thumbnail please:
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Daniel Staberg




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PostPosted: Thu 26 Apr, 2007 2:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The Hungarians fielded both men-at-arms equipped in the Western style as well as large numbers of hussars who were light cavarly, primarily horse archers.
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Fri 27 Apr, 2007 4:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Daniel says it all--the Hungarians had both light and heavy horse, and their "hussars" at this time were actually Serbo-Hungarian gusar fighting as light cavalry. Their armament varied widely, since some are known to be horse archers and others obviously carried shield and light lance. This wargaming page might have some useful information for you:

http://www.warfareeast.co.uk/main/Hungarian_Composition.htm
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Dariusz Dario T. W




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PostPosted: Fri 27 Apr, 2007 3:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Daniel Staberg wrote:
The Hungarians fielded both men-at-arms equipped in the Western style as well as large numbers of hussars who were light cavarly, primarily horse archers.

Hello,
all depends on the time period and area of what was considered "Hungarian" at that time.
Definitely the Hussars of the Hungarian Kingdom circa 1520 were light horsemen akin to the akinci Ottoman corps (border riders), but armed with a lance or spear as the primary weapon , then in the traditon of the steppe peoples - warhammers, maces, sabres, and other swords. Used shields for protection and perhaps bows, a weapon of choice for distance assault etc before the pistol or arquebus.
Hussars of the former Hungarian Kingdom circa 1575 were no longer light troops but much heavily equiped riders -those beautiful Turkish/Central Asia helmets or their European (German or Italian) derivatives, longer and heavier lance, plate armor and mail , "Hungarian" sabre, a long tuck underheath the left knee, still a shield (MET has some beautiful examples), a pistol and perhaps a bow and arrows for the retainers (depends on the area and wealth of the nobles they could be equiped with long firearms etc).
"Hungarian" hussars shed all the armor etc, and thier lances during the XVII century converting into Age of Reason hussars - the finest light cavalry of the XVIII century.
Probably Hussars were first created in Serbia as a response to the Ottoman Aknci warrirors of the Ottoman frontier (most likely Bulgarian, Albanian, Wallachian, Turkish etc mix) during the XIV century. They were sucessfuly incorpaorated into the armies of Mathias Corvinus, whose untimely death most likely robed Hungary of her glory later on during the XVI-XIX centuries.
Serbian or Rac hussars probably first appeared in the Kingdom of Poland during the wars with Mathias Corwinus of 1470s. They might have appeared in the Dutchy of Lithuania armies even earlier... It was Stephen Bathory, "Hungarian" prince and one of the finest Polish kings, who converted Polish hussars into heavier, more like their "Hungarian" counterparts.

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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Sat 28 Apr, 2007 12:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dariusz Dario T. W wrote:
all depends on the time period and area of what was considered "Hungarian" at that time.


Rodolfo is specifically asking about Mohacs, though--and in that period the gusars were still mostly light cavalrymen. The Hungarian heavy cavalry at this point in history were essentially men-at-arms just like what we would have found in most other European kingdoms.

(And would have looked a great deal like French/Spanish/Imperial heavy horse, too.)
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Nick Trueman





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PostPosted: Sat 28 Apr, 2007 4:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi

A couple of pics, Im starting to develop a interest in this period myself. I have what I think is a later Hungarian hussar and a Ukrainian hussar.

Forgive me if Im wrong.

N



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polski hussaria (4).jpg

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Nick Trueman





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PostPosted: Sat 28 Apr, 2007 4:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hungarian late


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Copy of polskiHungarian Hussar Colonel 1688.jpg

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Rodolfo Martínez




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PostPosted: Sat 28 Apr, 2007 12:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
Daniel says it all--the Hungarians had both light and heavy horse, and their "hussars" at this time were actually Serbo-Hungarian gusar fighting as light cavalry. Their armament varied widely, since some are known to be horse archers and others obviously carried shield and light lance. This wargaming page might have some useful information for you:

http://www.warfareeast.co.uk/main/Hungarian_Composition.htm


Very interesting site. Thanks. Do you know if Armigeri have something to do with Condottieri?

Quote:
A couple of pics, Im starting to develop a interest in this period myself. I have what I think is a later Hungarian hussar and a Ukrainian hussar.

Forgive me if Im wrong.


Nice pictures, Do you know if the winged Hussars were only Polish, or there were Hungarian and Ukranian too?

¨Sólo me desenvainarás por honor y nunca me envainarás sin gloria¨
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Sun 29 Apr, 2007 3:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nick Trueman wrote:
A couple of pics, Im starting to develop a interest in this period myself. I have what I think is a later Hungarian hussar and a Ukrainian hussar.


They're both the work of Velimir Vuksic, and I'm not sure about the copyright issues involved here--are you sure these are posted with his permission?

About the pictures themselves, though, the first is clearly meant to represent the later kind of "heavy" hussar, and if I remember correctly it was of a Hungarian hussar. I remember the second being captioned as an officer serving with the hussars raised from Czobor, although I'm not sure where that place is.


Rodolfo Martínez wrote:
Quote:
Daniel says it all--the Hungarians had both light and heavy horse, and their "hussars" at this time were actually Serbo-Hungarian gusar fighting as light cavalry. Their armament varied widely, since some are known to be horse archers and others obviously carried shield and light lance. This wargaming page might have some useful information for you:

http://www.warfareeast.co.uk/main/Hungarian_Composition.htm


Very interesting site. Thanks. Do you know if Armigeri have something to do with Condottieri?


Not specifically. Perhaps they do, but only in the sense that both were predominantly composed of mercenary men-at-arms with supporting retinues of lighter soldiers.

Quote:
Nice pictures, Do you know if the winged Hussars were only Polish, or there were Hungarian and Ukranian too?


I don't know about "winged" hussars if you're referring specifically to heavy hussars who wore the wing-like structures on their backs. But our Features article on the hussars clearly state that the earlier (and lighter) types of hussars were more Hungarian than Polish and that they wore actual bird wings instead of faux wings constructed out of wood and eagle feathers.

As for the "heavy" hussars, I recall them making an appearance in the Hungarian military establishment, but not in the Ukrainian. After all, at this time there wasn't really an Ukraine as such, only several "hosts" of Cossacks split int oareas under Russian rule and those under Polish-Lithuanian rule.
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Dariusz Dario T. W




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PostPosted: Wed 02 May, 2007 3:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lafayette C Curtis wrote:
Dariusz Dario T. W wrote:
all depends on the time period and area of what was considered "Hungarian" at that time.


Rodolfo is specifically asking about Mohacs, though--and in that period the gusars were still mostly light cavalrymen. The Hungarian heavy cavalry at this point in history were essentially men-at-arms just like what we would have found in most other European kingdoms.

(And would have looked a great deal like French/Spanish/Imperial heavy horse, too.)


well,
actually there are problems with what the Jagellonian Hungarian army might have looked like as far as the hussars are concerned.
I am no expert but have read my literature and am basing my writing on what I have read or seen.
circa 1520 there were many types of light cavalry in the Jagellonian Hungary - different in the east in Transylvania - peasant based spear and bow armed called hinsari or raci in the Wallachia and Molavia, then different along the middle Danube frontier or southern parts of the Kingdom - where the strongest troops were stationed (most Serbian hussars were stationed there), different in the west amongst the Croats and Slovenes - very similar to the Serbian (after all the difference was in their religion and respective history) hussars but not named as such, and obviously different in the hungarian heartland - Serbian influenced hussar like troops supposedly using some protective armour and helmets while traditional bowmen were using mail and helmets. generally all light cavalry is called equites, with the exception of hussars who were called exactly hussars or ussars. Comparatively in the Polish Kingdom and duchy of Lithuania there were two kinds of hussars by the 1530s, lighter and heavier and the heavy lancer knight was migrating towards the lighter hussar while saving his helmet and cuirass and armguards, while Serbian hussars persisted well into the 16th century.

Just to point again that hussars were a very particular kind of cavalry - started as Serbian vojniks or warriors that sometime during the Sigismunt of Luxemburg rule became hussari or ussari. Because of the collapse of the Serbian independence they migrated into Hungary, Poland, Venice, and Austria. They fought with a lance, sabre, war mace or warhammers, protected by a shield ( pointed Balkan wooden small or larger, or adopted round Turkish kalkan) .
Ever since Mathias Corvinus they were used against the Ottoman border troops - akinjis and Turkish infantry because they had no armour.
Daniel post is incorrect , and I simply tried to point to the core of the Serbian hussar invention - lightly equipped extremely highly mobile lancer cavalrymen with a heavy lancer cavalry potential when facing lightly armed troops.
Pease not that they used very light horses, as the Balkan peninsula was at that time producing very fine horses, going back to the Thracian and Roman times.
the illustrations do not depict any cavalry of the Mohac era, but of the later times (the second one is some 18th century hussar).
well, perhaps to be continued

"veni, vidi, Deus vincit"
Jan Sobieski, Rex Poloniae et Dux Lithuaniae

http://dariocaballeros.blogspot.com/


Last edited by Dariusz Dario T. W on Thu 03 May, 2007 2:58 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Thu 03 May, 2007 6:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, Daniel was incorrect only insofar as he mentioned the gusar as being largely horse archers. Some of them were horse archers, some of them lancers, and most did not seem to have had any problems transitioning between the two roles. And he is entirely correct in saying that the Hungarian heavy horse at Mohacs were predominantly men-at-arms since by this time the phenomenon of the heavy husaria was still largely restricted to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. I actually heard some historian mentioning that Mohacs was an important factor in the decline of the men-at-arms in the Hungarian military establishment and their replacement partly by Polish-style heavy hussars and partly by German-style reiters.
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Rodolfo Martínez




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PostPosted: Thu 03 May, 2007 1:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

How effective were those men-at-arms at Mohacs?
I was told that they could ¨defeat¨ Turkish infantry men, but they were defeated by light cavalry. Is it true?

¨Sólo me desenvainarás por honor y nunca me envainarás sin gloria¨
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Dariusz Dario T. W




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PostPosted: Thu 03 May, 2007 2:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lafayette C Curtis wrote:
Well, Daniel was incorrect only insofar as he mentioned the gusar as being largely horse archers. Some of them were horse archers, some of them lancers, and most did not seem to have had any problems transitioning between the two roles. And he is entirely correct in saying that the Hungarian heavy horse at Mohacs were predominantly men-at-arms since by this time the phenomenon of the heavy husaria was still largely restricted to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth..

Lafayette,
early 16th century hussars or husharok (from Royal Hungary, transilvania, Croatia and Serbian mercenary) were not horse archers.
They were lancers par excellence and being a lancer was their specific characteristic.
Naturally they might have used any other weapons as needed, but contemporary images do not show hussars possessing bow and quiver. Turkish 'hussars' (akinjis and spahis) did have them.
But their companies in the Royal Hungary most likely included archers or even some handgunners (Polish cavalry companies at Obertyn 1531 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Obertyn included some handgunners amongs companies' archers) as both in Poland and Kingdom of Hungary they had mixed companies of heavier lancers, hussars and archers/handgunners.
Eastern Hungary and their vassals - Transylvania and Wallachia - contained many horse archers of Cuman, Szekler, Vlach, Tatar while Saxons were mostly infantry
I have a book on Mohac and could look for some clues as to the existence and fate of men-at-arms at Mohac and afterwards.
But you must consider certain, very specific division -banderia- of Hungarian military ever since Mathias Corvinus and his Jagellonian successors. And also the fact that under the Jagellonian Kings Hungarian professional military declined rapidly, from mostly men-at-arms army of Mathias Corvinus to mostly levied armies of banderia lords.
The most menaced, southern and southeastern part of the Kingdom of Hungary was defended by a chain of castles and fortresses and large contingents of cavalry stationed there, both levied and professional/mercenary.
but actually you can also read yourself Happy in English too
http://www.hungarian-history.hu/lib/warso/index.htm
also check some google books searches - things come up
dario

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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Thu 03 May, 2007 11:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Maybe I did confuse the gusars with the Hungarian light cavalry bands in general. The correction is appreciated--though are you entirely sure of the Christian hussars not carrying bowcases and quivers? I recall that some of the Latin records from the 15th century at least seem to indicate that many of them got extra pay for bringing bows and arrows and for being able to use them. The custom might have died out by the 16th century, though.

As for Rodolfo's question about the effectiveness of the Hungarian men-at-arms, I don't think we can answer it in terms of such one-on-one matchups. Against the Turkish sipahi and timariots, there were some occasions where they won and some others where they lost big time; same against the Turkish light cavalry and infantry. And we can never lose sight of the number variable, since at Varna the same royal bodyguards who had routed the Turkish horse earlier in the day were quickly overwhelmed by the Janissaries when they broke alone and unsupported into the Turkish camp.
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Sat 05 May, 2007 7:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

BTW, I've checked Perjes's monograph and it seems like that, while his strategic and political analysis are highly plausible, he sort of misses the point when he compared the Ottoman and Hungarian tactics--especially because he only compared the tactics of individual troop types, not the grand tactics of the armies as a whole. In this respect both Ottoman and Hungarian grand tactics were a great deal more sophisticated than what he said in the earlier chapters of his work, and his detailed description of the battle of Mohacs in the later chapter actually displays this complexity very well indeed.
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Dariusz Dario T. W




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PostPosted: Sat 05 May, 2007 2:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lafayette C Curtis wrote:
BTW, I've checked Perjes's monograph and it seems like that, while his strategic and political analysis are highly plausible, he sort of misses the point when he compared the Ottoman and Hungarian tactics--especially because he only compared the tactics of individual troop types, not the grand tactics of the armies as a whole. In this respect both Ottoman and Hungarian grand tactics were a great deal more sophisticated than what he said in the earlier chapters of his work, and his detailed description of the battle of Mohacs in the later chapter actually displays this complexity very well indeed.


great points regarding this monograph! I think this monograph is quite a treasure in itself. There are many smaller articles, as the scholarship written in English by Hungarian historians has been steadily growing - but not much via web access, although parts can be read via google books - under limited preview...

By the way - it is my understanding that until 1520 mounted companies in Poland-Lithuania and Royal Hungary included mounted crossbowmen, only after 1520s these crossbowmen disappear completely being replaced by the oriental -Tatar or Turkish - bow armed mounted archers. Oriental bows were to stay with the Polish and Hungarian cavalry until the 18th century, becoming a mark of a knigtly/equestrian/ noble class towards the end ogf the era.
Obviously the southern Poland-Lithuania (today Ukraine) had already possesed mounted archers due to heavy Tatar and other nomandic people presence, likewise in the southern Kingdom of Hungary and in her vassal lands - Moldavia (Moldavia was switching bewteen some measure of independence, Poland and Hungary, until succumbing later on to Ottomans), Wallachia and Transylvania bows were used on horseback continiously ever since the Scythians Happy

alas, check on the google books search engine full text (can download or read on line) of ' Adventures of Baron Wenceslas Wratislaw' - it is a 1590s quite intimate portrayal of Ottoman Constantinople, Ottoman armies and bureaucratic machinery of then strongest empire in Europe by a young Chech aristocrat and a member of the Habsburg ambasodor retinue.... not to mention a nice glimpse into the 16th century mind .
Dario

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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Sun 06 May, 2007 4:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mounted crossbowmen? Hm...weren't these one of Matthias's imports from the German tactical system? His Black Army clearly included large number of mounted German mercenaries, and these would have included significant contingents of mounted crossbowmen in their deep battlefield wedges.
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Dariusz Dario T. W




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PostPosted: Mon 07 May, 2007 3:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

[quote="Lafayette C Curtis"]Mounted crossbowmen? Hm...weren't these one of Matthias's imports from the German tactical system?
more like his Hussite, and Silesian and Moravian subjects Happy
and perhaps his Transylvania Saxons ...
I dare say that the mounted crossbowmen had been included in the knight's lance (retinue) ever since 14th century as their usage became common under t the Angevin kings - king Louis the Great.

"veni, vidi, Deus vincit"
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Tue 08 May, 2007 12:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hm. Yes. I forgot that--and all those "Saxons" settled in Hungarian lands. What I was wondering, though, was the large-scale adoption of mounted crossbowmen. It sounds like something that would have been more the style of Matthias or his father.

And I noticed that we're beginning to veer off-topic, though perhaps not so much if we consider that the mounted crossbowmen were part of the Hungarian heavy cavalry formations--and might have spawned the reiters that also became popular there later on.
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