Saturday, December 31, 2016

Lost Objects - Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage Inventory - some of winged hussars related items

the year ends today and new one will be upon us immediately - :)

This old 2016 ended nicely for the Polish cultural heritage since Polish Republic has just purchased, really cheap - :) , the entire Princes Czartoryski's Collection with their real estate from its owner, prince Adam K. Czartoryski, including this famous Leonardo painting .

we should note that one of the missing items from this collection is the famous Portrait of a Young Man  by Raphael Santi - robbed by the Germans during the War World II. Here an article ( in Polish here) on the very painting and its history and its loss.

Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage is rejoicing the mentioned purchase but  we should not forget the tremendous loss inflicted on the Polish culture and heritage by the Soviet and German occupiers during  the War World II and - this is an article(in Polish here) on the Polish heritage losses during the war, however, the losses have been assesed only as to the lands within the post-1945 Polish borders, whereas 50 % of the lands northeast, south and southeast of this present border are excluded. This is the explanation allowed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage:
''Estimation of Polish cultural losses in the eastern terrain is impossible, because after the war Poland never had access to museums, galleries, archives and libraries which previously had been Polish. The Soviet side never never carried out an „initial balance" (for obvious reasons). Thus, it is difficult to specify the losses, since we have neither a thorough inventory of our cultural property from 1939, nor information about the state of the situation after 1945. At best it is possible to note one example aiming at such a balance: Polish librarians prepared the guide „Libraries in the eastern lands of the 2nd Republic" (Warsaw 1998) in which they determined that in 1939, in the eastern part of the 2nd Republic, there were 5056 libraries. They were unable to determine their state in 1945.''
I included into this post images of looted artefact's that could be associated with the winged hussars during the XVI-XVIII centuries - military objects and horse tack.

enjoy your New Year's festivities -  :)  -

Szczęśliwego Nowego 2017 Roku -

!Feliz Año Neuvo!

all images are from the Division for Lotted Art

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas - Wesolych Swiat - Feliz Navidad


what can I say - it is Christmas Eve  so Merry Christmas to all :)

Wesołych, radosnych, zdrowych  Świąt Bożego Narodzenia

Feliz Navidad
Life of Jesus by William Hole
and one by Albrecht Durer

: - :)

John Vanderbank - high riding school images

Christmas Eve upon us - we have been working on some traditional dishes, and enjoying the beginning of this special season.
I came across the painting and drawings of the Anglo-French painter John Vanderbank, active during the early XVIII century. Apparently he was a very gifted and talented artist, able to show the quality riding horse and the riders too.
Wikipedia has some nice photos of his equestrian art, including several high riding school pieces.

 This royal portrait shows the English monarch astride a very Spanish looking horse, buckskin stallion  full of pride and grace, ridden with log curb bit, relaxed rein and long stirrups. 

Two interesting drawings can be seen here.
Merry Christmas 

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Fetterman Fight - Cheyenne Account 2

returning to the battle known as Fetterman Fight - and the Cheyenne account of this day, unfortunately and sadly I could not publish this on the day of the struggle.

Cheyenne account reported by G.B. Grinnell & G. Bent:

After a little time a single shot was heard. Later it was said that when the young men who had been sent to the fort had charged the post they had killed a
sentry. This was the shot. A long period of silence followed, during which they waited and listened; then a number of shots were heard, but the firing lasted for a few minutes only. It was afterward said that some troops came out from the fort as if to attack the decoy Indians and then turned back and went into
the fort and that someone who was with the soldiers made motions to the young Indians to go away, that the soldiers were going to eat. This was the Indian understanding of the signs, whatever they may have been.

The Sioux signed back to them that to-day they would get a full stomach of fighting. The soldiers re-entered the post and the young Indians remained in sight riding about.

After a time a number of bugle-calls were heard and soon after a troop of cavalry marched out of the post toward these young men, and after them a company of infantry. At a bugle-call the cavalry charged and fired at the Indians who, of course, ran away. This was the distant shooting heard.

It was some time before the watchers heard any more shooting. The cavalry after firing had stopped, and would follow no longer, and the Indians were obliged to return and attack again, be shot at, and followed a little farther. In this way the infantry kept well closed up with the cavalry, which was perhaps the reason the cavalry followed slowly.

After the third and fourth volleys the shooting came closer, and before long some of the Indians came riding down the ridge and a little later another man, Big Nose, the Cheyenne, mounted on a black horse, was seen riding back and forth across the ridge before the soldiers, seeming to fight them and they were shooting at him as hard as they could. It looked as if Big Nose was trying to fight and hold back the soldiers in order to help someone ahead of him to get away. From the place where the Indians were waiting Big Nose seemed almost against the soldiers. The great body of Indians bidden along the ridge kept themselves well concealed. Not a move was made nor a sound heard.

After Big Nose, followed slowly by the soldiers, had come down off the steep ridge the troops stopped, and Big Nose charged back and seemed to go in among the soldiers so that he was lost to sight. He went into the troop from the right and came out on the left, wheeled his horse, rode into them again and came out, and turned as if to go back.

The troops kept following, coming down the old Bozeman Road which runs down the crest of the ridge. The Sioux on foot were hidden in the grass on the flat beyond the end of the ridge, perhaps one and a half miles distant from the place where the troops came to it at its upper end. The mounted Sioux were
hidden behind two rocky ridges on the east side of this ridge, while the Cheyennes were on the west side of it. It had been announced that a certain Cheyenne, Little Horse, who was a Contrary*, should give his people the word to charge, and when the proper time came this word was to be passed on from one to another until all were notified and then all should spring up and charge.

The cavalry, who had been following the ridge down nearly to the flat by the stream, were now pretty close to the Sioux footmen, and the infantry were well within the Indians' lines. When the decoys had forded the stream beyond the end of the ridge and the cavalry had nearly come to it the decoys separated
into two parties, riding away from each other, and then, turning, came back and crossed each other. This was very likely a signal, and the Indians charged. 

Little Horse, following the law of the Contraries, held his contrary lance in his left hand. The Cheyennes watched him, and when they saw him pass his left
hand behind his neck and grasp the contrary lance with his right hand they knew that he was about to charge, and all sprang up.

When the charge was made the sound of many hoofs made a noise like thunder and the soldiers began to fall back. On the ridge near the place where it leaves the hill are many large loose flat stones. The infantry took a position behind these. The cavalry moved back up the hill and stopped.

On the infantry hidden among the rocks a a Sioux came charging down the old road  and the infantry stood up in sight as if about to leave the shelter. They did not do so, but let the Sioux pass through them and after he had passed fired at and killed him.
Soon after this another man came down the road on foot and began to shoot at the infantry and -what they rose up to shoot at him the other Indians shot at them. This young man was killed.

White Elk— at that time named Wandering Buffalo Bull—was with those fighting the infantry. Soon after the second Sioux was killed the try was given to charge and the Sioux and Cheyennes charged and got to the infantry about the same time, and for a little while Indiana and soldiers were mixed up together in hand-to-hand fighting. Just before and in this charge a Sioux was killed and another wounded by arrows shot by their own people. The one killed was struck in the forehead just over the root of the nose, and the arrow-point pierced his brain.  The arrow was shot from the other side of the ridge and had passed
through or over the crowd of troops.

The cavalry, who had followed the decoying party of Indians down nearly to the level of the river bottom, when they saw the Sioux charging them from the northeast turned and retreated up to the top of a high hill toward the end of the ridge. There they halted and waited in line until the infantry were all killed
at the rocks about a hundred yards north of the line of cavalry.
Then the cavalry began to fall back, but slowly and in order. Some were even on foot leading the horses.

After the infantrymen had been killed the Indians rushed up toward the cavalry, but the ground was slippery with ice and snow and in many places the hill was too steep for them to charge up it. Still many people crept up toward the place, and Little Horse is reported to have approached behind the rocks within forty feet of the soldiers, and fought there, yet he was not hurt in the fight. While this was going on White Elk was a little behind, where he could see the Indians shooting at the cavalry with arrows, and the arrows flew so thickly above the troops that to him they seemed like a lot of grasshoppers flying across each other.
On the hill an officer was killed and when he fell the troops seemed to give up and to begin to fight their way up the ridge. The weather now grew very cold, so that blood running from wounds soon froze. After the soldiers had reached the end of the ridge they began to let go their horses and the Indians, eager to capture the horses, began to lessen their shooting.

Up to this time Big Nose had not been hurt. Someone called out: "There are two good horses left there." Big Nose enlarged up toward the horses, struck them with his whip, thus taking possession of them, and then rode back and turned again, hut here his horse stopped, exhausted. He could not get it to move,
and here Big Nose was shot off his horse. This was the only wound he had and his horse was untouched.

White Elk went to where his friend lay. He spoke to White Elk and said: "Lift my head up the hill and place me where I can breathe the fresh air." This was all he said. He breathed for a day or two after this. Big Nose was killed on the ridge in the first sag northwest of the monument, near some large rocks west of the crest of the ridge. His horse stopped as he was crossing the ridge and began to back toward the soldiers, who were west of where the monument is. While White Elk was helping Big Nose the soldiers were shooting at them constantly.

The cavalry kept moving back to some great rocks, perhaps four hundred yards from where the infantry had been killed. On the other fade of the rocks there was a fiat with no cover behind which the Indians could approach, and they could not get near to the soldiers. The Indians kept calling to one another to keep hidden, but to continue to creep up. They did so, and every now and then an Indian would show himself and seem to be about to charge, and when the soldiers rose to their feet to shoot all the Indians would shoot. In this way they killed some of the soldiers. They kept calling to each other: "Be ready. Are you
ready?" And others would call back: "We are ready." They were preparing for the charge — a hand-to-hand fight.

When at last the order was given to charge they rushed in among the soldiers and a number of Sioux were killed among the soldiers. Here they killed every one. 
After all were dead a dog was seen running away, barking, and someone called out: "All are dead but the dog; let him carry the news to the fort," but someone else cried out: " No, do not let even a dog get away " and a young man shot at it with his arrow and killed it. The last of the cavalry was killed just where the monument now stands.
Charles M Russell's drawing

The fight began when the sun was quite high in the heavens and ended about noon. Little Horse led the Cheyennes in the charge which had been ordered. All watched him and when he went forward they followed. Only two Cheyennes were killed.
The Sioux were laid out side by side and made two long rows, perhaps fifty or sixty men. The number of Indians was very great. Of Arapahoes and Cheyennes there were a good many hundred, and there were three times as many Sioux. White Elk believes that in the Fetterman fight there were more men than in the Custer Fight. Most of the Indians were armed with bows. The few who had guns had old smooth-bore flintlocks. Only six of the eighty-one white men bore gunshot wounds, and of these Colonel Fetterman and Captain Brown are supposed to have killed themselves with their own revolvers.''

* Contrary Society

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Pacem aeternam & condolences

joyous time in the Christian tradition is almost upon us, but many horrible events have been taking place around the world and there is to be no end to violence,  especially in the Middle East and Europe.

Paceam Aeternam to all victims and my deepest condolences to their families of the latest string of  terror acts - like this one yesterday.

Beautiful image from pre-1939 Poland,  via the Polish National Digital Archives - the main Saint Mary altar inside the Catholic Church for the Polish Army Infantry NCO  School at Komarów, near Ostrów Mazowiecka. 
Winged hussars are the most proper guardians for the Virgin Mary, as they could be for the Polish Republic's President.

 Hope your Christmas will be peaceful and full of joy and good time, but do not forget about the less fortunate, the fallen and their grieving families.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Ussaria, armor and big guns

Cuirasses from Krasna Horka castle

today perhaps a little about our Polish winged hussars and their armor - via Radoslaw Sikora's book - 'Husaria w Walce'/The Winged Hussars in Combat - chapter on the hussar armor versus period's firearms p.30-52.
Winged Hussar armor, especially the breastplate, was 1.8 to 9 mm thick (winged hussar retainers wore  the thinner armor, naturally ), the center being the thickest, and was made from a piece iron worked over by a blacksmith or armorer. Perhaps the XVII century cuirass was of the best quality and thickness when comes to standing up to a pistol of musket shot, but the examples I am going to give have to do with artillery fire and its impact, which is most likely the extreme of the battle experience for any soldier.

There are more than several examples from the sources giving us a glimpse into their battle experience and life-saving quality of their armor versus the canonfire; so let me start  with the following event, rather gruesome and miraculous at the same time, from a hard fought engagement between Lubar and Cudnów that took place during the Polish-Muscovite war of 1654-69. 
a canon from Krasna Horka castle in Slovakia

During the said battle an enemy cannon ball struck a breastplate of a winged hussar companion named Prusinowski[1], soldier of the Crown field hetman [Jerzy Lubomirski ] winged hussar company:
„[...] Prusinowski, towarzysz hetmana polnego [Jerzego Lubomirskiego] husarski, z armaty blachę zbroi na przedzie skruszoną miał; dziw wielki, kula ciała nie ruszyła [...]”
Prusinowski, winged hussar companion of the field hetman, suffered a damaged front plate of his armor that had been hit by a cannon ball [sic!]; [it was] a great wonder that the ball did not damage [his] body.
And then:
Pułkownik Leszczyński dodał, że dziura w zbroi Prusinowskiego była „Tak wielka, żeby ręka wcześnie się w nię skryła”.
Colonel Leszczyński added that the 'hole' in the Prusinowski's armor was 'so great that the hand/palm could hide in it.'
Hence, apparently pan Prusinowski physically survived this life-threatening  event to fight on.
In this case I am wondering whether his cuirass had a big concave indentation large enough for a cannot ball to fit in, and then a human hand to go inside, but the iron cuirass plate was not pierced and the ball being spent harmlessly fell to the ground? Or the cuirass was pierced by the cannon but somehow the cannonball stretched the plate and fell harmlessly down having been spent?
Pan Wespazjan Kochowski, a winged hussar companion, poet and chronicler, commented on this miraculous survival as being unusual, and in his writings he noted another exmaple of a winged hussar companion being struck by a cannonball onto his cuirass, but this time this companion named Komorowski was less lucky, the ball pierced his cuirass and he died - battle of Ochmatów, 29th  January- 2nd February 1655 during the Polish-Muscovite cum Cossaks war)

Twenty years earlier we have more examples of the quality of the armor used by the winged hussar:
30 sierpnia 1633 roku[2], w jednego z husarzy z roty wojewody smoleńskiego Aleksandra Gosiewskiego uderzyła kula armatnia. Zbroja wytrzymała to uderzenie, choć pozostało na niej wklęśnięcie. Kula ześlizgnęła się po zbroi i zgruchotała husarzowi rękę.
on August 30, 1633 an enemy cannon ball struck one of the winged hussar[companions] of the Smolensk Voivode Aleksander Gosiewski's banner. His armour withstood the hit, but it was dented/had an indentation where the ball hit. Then the slightly spent cannonball slid across the armor and ended shattering hussar's hand or arm.
 Apparently this solider lived, albeit injured.

Inny husarz, tym razem z roty chorążego żmudzkiego Michała Wojny, został trafiony kulą armatnią w szyszak. Co prawda szyszak wytrzymał to uderzenie, ale głowa już nie. Husarz poległ na miejscu (Diariusz kampanii, s. 204 – 205)

 A different winged hussar[companion], this time from the  chorąży Michał Wojna's banner, was struck by a cannon ball at his head, protected with his winged hussar shishage helmet, so indeed the helmet withstood the direct hit by the enemy cannon, but the hussar's head did not, and so he was died instantaneously from the impact (Diariusz kampanii, pp.204-205).

 Surviving examples of firearms impact on the armor - a XVII century cuirass with a musket ball indentation from Livrustkammaren, in Sweden.
Another XVII century cuirass with a hole inflicted perhaps by a musket ball from the same museum, apparently must have caused a mortal injury to a wearer. Yet another cuirass, perhaps a pistol shot or a smaller caliber weapon.
this soldier survived the shot, with his cuirass dented by a musket ball?

The following images are from the Napoleonic period cuirass pierced by a cannonball - mass produced cuirass  of the French cuirassiers and carabiniers (Waterloo 1815) - poor carabinier-à-cheval named François-Antoine Fauveau age 23 was the wearer of this armor.

[1] - perhaps Krzysztof or Łukasz Prusinowski, Topór coat of arms - Kasper Niesiecki, Herbarz Polski, Vol VII, page 526. (1836 edition)

[2] Polish-Muscovite war of 1632-33

more winged  hussar armor theme in the future installments