Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Horse from Vrancx' fête galante

 in addition to yesterday's horses one more fine image of a horse painted by Sebastian Vrancx,  his dismounted gentleman-rider is greeting a lady while a black (African) 'pachołek' (servant) holds his bay stallion.

 The bay horse is perhaps a Spanish stallion, his tack very fine (gilded curbbit, black velvet covered saddle with gold lace piping. gilded stirrups, three long tassels down each flank etc). The tail is braided and combed - a fine example of a Baroque riding horse schooled in the manage (perhaps indicated by this horse's posture, its tack and also by the riding whip in the hands of the servant).
Perhaps this mount is the ideal schooled horse for the gentleman-chevalier of any Western European court etc. 
You can enjoy the whole painting, very large scan, at the Denmark's National Gallery site


Monday, October 17, 2016

Traveling ....

I have been traveling a bit in old Europe, namely Italy, and thus this break in blogging
I will resume shortly..
Meantime, enjoy Sebastian Vrancx' horses, riders and a draft team of palominos - :)

and a Polish couple?

enjoy your Fall

Friday, September 23, 2016

Art militaire à cheval - Wallhausen


Johann Jacobi von Wallhausen comes from a long line of the German countries military arts practitioners and theoreticians who wrote 'fechbuchen' or books on fighting and personal combat.
Von Wallhausen was a renowned military theorist and soldier of his day, his works were studied and pondered, and obviously translated in various European languages (almost immediately into French upon publication), among  his many employments he worked as the Capitan of the Guard and a Captain for the Royal City of Gdansk, in Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, where he must have learned a thing or two about lancers.
 He eventually was invited to work as a director and teacher at the military academy established by Johann VII, Count of Nassau-Siegen circa 1617. Yet he did not last there for long.
He wrote 11 military books between 1615-1621, and amongst them The Art of Cavalry  (or the Art of War on Horseback) - full title bellow in French*
More about messer Johann von Wallhausen and his treatises can be read at the masterful  work by prof. Sidney Anglo titled ''The Renaissance Martial Arts of Europe.''
David Lawrence in The Complete Soldier states that the works of von Wallahusen were studied by the Stuart English military theorists  like John Cruso shortly after their publication on the continent.

some plates from his work* pertaining to lancer and his weapons and equipment

Gallica - Art militaire à cheval . Instruction des principes et fondements de la cavallerie, et de ses quatre espèces, ascavoir lances, corrasses, arquebus et drageons, avec tout ce qui est de leur charge et exercice, avec quelques nouvelles inventions de batailles ordonnées de cavallerie et démonstrations de la nécessité, utilité et excellence de l'art militaire sur toutes aultres arts et sciences, experimenté, descript... par Jean Jaques de Wallhausen (1616)

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Mars Sauromatski

dzisiaj mamy rocznice zwycięskich walk polsko-moskiewskich  z udziałem husarii

 Towarzysz husarski Samuel Hutor Szymanowski z Kleczan napisał był dzieło wydane pt '' Mars sauromatski i inne poematy''.
Dzieło jest niezwykle ponieważ autor był uczestnikiem walk z Moskwą i z Turkami, na dodatek zdolnym poetą i obserwatorem.
Ergo, fragment opisujący wojska autoramentu narodowego i cudzoziemskiego pod Smoleńskiem w czasie wojny z Moskwą 1632-34.
Kapitulacja wojsk moskiewskich

Fragment dotyczący jazdy husarii przepisany z wydania:

[...]A zatym sam monarcha polski z niemałymi
Wojski już się przybliża, pułki sprawionemi.
Tu usarz idzie sprawą jako las ogromny,
Tu i ognisty kozak swój szereg niezłomny
Trzyma, tamże brzmią trąby i kotły straszliwe,
Marsa krwawego dzieje i surmy* piskliwe,
Chorągwie i proporce od wiatru się wiją,
Z krzykiem konie waśniwe w szeregach się biją.
Polerowne od słońca migocą kirysy,
Lamparty, sępie skrzydła, ogromne tygrysy,
Już i konie tureckie głosem poryżają,
Munsztuki gryząc pienią, cugle porywają,
Na tych rzędy złociste, te w bród farbowane,
Pysznym się kłusem ważą kosztownie ubrane
A drugie na powodzie tuż przed chorągwiami
W rzędach pod kosztownymi kłuszą diwdikami[...]

AD 2013 dr Radek Sikora popełnił był  ciekawy artykul o chorągwiach husarskich i udziale husarii w bitwach et potyczkach tej wygranej wojny z  'gasudarem' udzielnym Wielkiego Księstwa Moskiewskiego. 
Tamże dr Sikora podaje:
''W 1633 roku, pod Smoleńskiem doszło do kilku tylko bardziej spektakularnych akcji z udziałem konnych husarzy.
W jednej z nich, 22 września 1633 roku, kawaleria polska (3 roty husarzy i jedna kozacka) spędziły z pola 6 rot jazdy rosyjskiej oraz rozbiła muszkieterów i pikinierów z dwóch regimentów piechoty -  
Sikora Radosław,  Атака гусар под Смоленском 22.IX.1633 г. „Край Смоленский” 6, 2011.''
ciao !
* piszczałki wojskowe 

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Remembering KOP & Soviet attack 17.IX.1939

yesterday was yet another anniversary of the Soviet attack on Polish Republic in September 1939. Join attack by the German-Soviet alliance with a small help of the Slovak forces defeated Polish armed forces; Poles being betrayed also by their Western allies, namely France and Britain.
Korpus Ochorny Pogranicza (KOP) or Border Protection Corps was organized in 1924 to protect the  long borderlands  Poland had with Lithuania, the Soviet Union, and in the late 1930s with Romania.
The borderlands, especially the north-eastern part, were rather lawless and full of communist agitators and agents, and the local Belorussian, Ukrainian, Lithuanian, Jewish populations (depending on a region) that were more numerous  than the ethnic Poles, and often hostile towards the Polish administration, Polish gentry, Polish farmers, traders, technicians and Catholic priests. Members of the aforementioned minorities were prohibited from serving in the KOP units, while the Polish Germans were not.
 KOP was used to pacify the borderlands and thus many soldiers died while serving the country. It can be argued that the borderlands situation during the 1920s was aptly described in an autobiographical novel, ''Kochanek Wielkiej Niedziedzicy-Lover of the Greater Bear,' by Sergiusz Piasecki.
After 1931 the KOP forces consisted of  some 24 frontier infantry battalions, 5 detached infantry battalions,  20 cavalry squadrons (companies), 6 engineer companies, 1 headquarters company, 1 gendarmerie battalion, and the NCO school.*
During the spring-summer 1939 mobilization KOP was enlarged to 63 infantry battalions, 2 fortress battalions, 6 battalions of National Defense, 2 horse artillery companies, 2 artillery battalions, and 19 cavalry squadrons and some other smaller units.*   However, most of the KOP units were moved out west, and spread out between other larger units,  like 1 KOP Cavalry pułk (regiment) was part of Army Lodz, and yet they became famous for their fighting  spirit and devotion to the Fatherland:  like KOP 'Berezwecz' that defended bunkers near Wegierska Gorka , the defenders who fought at the Wizna (Polish Thermophylae) etc. All units fighting the Germans were mixed in between the larger infantry and cavalry tactical units and army divisions, and suffered their larger groups fate during the campaign.

General Wilhelm Orlik-Rückemann , the commander of KOP since August 1939 and the veteran soldier of the War World I and Polish-Soviet war of 1919-21, was left with 22 infantry battalions, 2 fortress battalions, 6 National Defense battalions, 1 fortress company, 6 cavalry squadrons in Eastern Poland; thinly spread out from the border of Lithuania in the north to the Romanian one in the south.

These KOP units  stood to the invading Soviet panzer , mechanized infantry, infantry and horse cavalry quite numerous divisions that invaded Poland on 17th of September 1939. Also, the Soviet aggression broke the tenuous bond between the Polish administration and borderlands minorities and shortly these minorities rebelled (Jews, Ukrainian communists and nationalists, Belorussian communists, Lithuanians ) killing wounded soldiers, massacring officials and causing panic and chaos in the eastern Poland (where some 400,000 Polish soldiers could have been made ready to fight the Germans). Under the pressure from the overwhelming Soviet forces (750,000 strong invading force) and the minority rebels the KOP, spread out thinly in small units, was suffering numerous casualties and murders of its personnel (especially units' wagon trains were vulnerable to the artillery, tank and air assaults as well as sniper fire); thus on September 19, 1939 general Orlik-Ruckemann  decided  to group his remaining units into a larger tactical KOP group and then march them to Warsaw. Some 9,000 KOP soldiers begun their 300km fighting retreat march towards the west, fighting mostly many a rearguard action, including full scale battles  at Szack and Wytyczno in late September and early October - in fact the largest battles against the Soviet invaders during the September War. The remnants of this KOP command took part in the battle of Kock under the Army Group Polesie.
After the fighting Soviets murdered many of the officers, NCOs and soldiers taken prisoner during the invasion, while later on many officers, including the first KOP commander, taken prisoner were murdered at Katyn Massacre, while the KOP NCOs and soldiers and their families became victims of the  forced deportations during the 1940-41  , the infamous ethnic cleansing against the Poles living in the borderlands with the end destination somewhere in the vast  Gulags of Siberia and endless Kazakhstan steppes.
Some KOP soldiers images from 1920s i 1930s - dogs and horses, lakes and streams and creeks to cross...

general Henryk Minkiewicz, first KOP commander, in 1940 he was murdered by the Soviets during the Katyn Massacre of the Polish elites

some images from the Narodowe Archiwum Cyfrowe -National Digital Archive -
in the lower right corner general Francieszk Kleeberg, last commanding general of a sizable Polish army units, including a KOP cavalry unit in the field against the Soviets and Germans - see battle of Kock

Gloria victis!

*approximate figures from various publications