Sunday, September 15, 2013

330 Years Since the Relief of Vienna

In 1683 the Christian Alliance Defeated the Turks Before Vienna and Led the Liberation of Southeast Europe from the Turkish yolk.

Vienna 1683, the armies of the Holy League attacking the Ottoman
besieging forces.  Since 1400, Turkish troops began attacking
the Empire, a Fresco in the Graz Cathedral by Thomas von Villach
counts them among the seven menaces. [The Previous Picture: was of
Hatschi Bratschi's hot air balloon, just as politically incorrect
as this one.]

The Christian relief force

In early September 1683, the armies mediated by Pope Innocent XI. into the Holy League gathered for the attack on the Turkish siege forces under the Ottoman Grand Vizier Kara Mustafa in front of Vienna.

The French King Louis XIV., was committed to neutrality by Pope Innocent XI., was previously connected to the Sultan. France tried in vain to hold the Polish king from a merger with the army of Emperor Leopold I..

The formal leadership of the relief army, the Emperor Leopold I left to Poland's King Jan III. Sobieski. The individual parts of the army, however, remained under the suzerainty of the respective commanders.

Duke Charles of Lorraine led the imperial troops (among them, the troops provided by the Pope), supported by the Bavarians and Franks under Max Emanuel and the Saxons under Elector Johann Georg III.

The financing of the relief force was paid for to a substantial degree by the Holy Church under Pope Innocent XI., who fell back again on the income and wealth of ecclesiastical rule, the abbeys and monasteries.

The soldiers in the city were paid from ecclesiastical property, especially from the depot of the Primate of Hungary, Bishop Kollonitsch, experienced in fighting the Turk, who cambe back into the besieged city.

12th September 1683

The city of Vienna was under the command of Ernst Rüdiger Graf Starhemberg just was barely holding backthe attacks of the Ottomans, who had besieged the city with around 100,000 men.

These build trenches around the city ditches and dug underground blasting chambers which were set off undermine the walls defending the city. In addition, the city was under constant artillery fire.

The armies of the Holy Alliance took advantage of the Kara Mustafa poorly defended positions in Vienna Woods to the west of the city, as a staging area.

According to estimates by the troops under the leadership of Lorraine, they comprised about 40,000 men, with 20,000 additional soldiers by Jan Sobieski.

The attack took place from the Kahler and Leopold mountain and by midday the Alliance troops established a front from Heilgenstadt to Grinzing and Sievering.

"The Giauren [unbelievers = Christians] appeared with their detachments on the slopes on like storm clouds, gathering around the Erz Mountains. The other wing was opposed on the banks of the Danube composed of Walachians and Moldovans and over-reaching with the other wing to the extreme divisions of the Tartars, covered the mountains and fields while formed up in crescent order of battle. They were like a flood of wallowing black pitch pouring downhill, everything that opposed them was crushed, and burned," is how Mehmet, the Ottoman chronicler, describes the relieving army.

General Attack

The general attack on the main line of defense of the Ottomans took place at three twenty pm, the attack apparently exerted overwhelming pressure, so that even Kara Mustafa's camp had to be evacuated in great haste.

Just as Kara Mustafa was surprised by the strength of the defenders of Vienna, it also apparently the strength of the Christian troops.

At five thirty in just over two hours, the battle was over.

Cowardice of the Turks

An Irish officer who witnessed the combat action, "If the victory was not as extensive as we had set out to do, this is only due to the cowardice of the enemies whom we have driven before us from morning to night, who had not the courage to look us in the face as we displaced them from position to position, and pursued to narrow passes, which we never would have succeeded had they have had even a trace of courage. The battle lasted with the troops of the King of Poland for the longest time, but that only increased his fame, because the losses of the enemy's soldiers and cannons were greatest there, the enemy had left us practically his whole camp, with tents, bags and luggage."


With the relief of Vienna, the dislodging of the Ottomans from Eastern Europe was launched. Among the officers of the Imperial Army then, was the young Prince Eugene, as a lieutenant-colonel.

According to estimates, the death toll of the areas in which the Turks had ravaged, murdered and enslaved, were twice as high as in the Second World War.

Book Recommendation via Kreuznet

Siege of Vienna by John Stoye

 Trans: Tancred AMGD

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