Thursday, December 23, 2010

A little sketch with a new software

 I've got this new painting program - Sketchbook Pro 2011 (merci Maarcin for pointing it to me  -:) ) and decided to draw this sketch, this is quasi-Swedish/German cavalryman (been reading about these pesky Swedish, Finnish, Latvia and German horsemen-enemies of the Polish horsemen during the Deluge, they were quite great warriors and riders in their own right) .
As I am looking at this 'digital painting' I am thinking that perhaps he will need his horse or a saddle at least at his feet when he is done - :)
1 more day to Christmas or as we call it - Świąt  et Wigilii

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Chojnice AD 1657 - battle that confused Wikipedia editors :)

as I have been giving links here to various Wikipedia articles, and I have noticed that they do contain plenty of errors or misleading information when come to history and often even to geography.
 It is my intention to work on some of them, eg. Polish hussars, battle of Wojnicz (gathering sources and there are plenty of these, and Radek Sikora had found already quite a few), battle of Klecko (started correcting  ) battle of Golab, and many others.

.... about a week ago my good friend Radek Sikora noticed that something was seriously wrong with the Polish Wikipedia entry on the battle of Chojnice (1657) - he started correcting it but then his corrections are still not evident (waiting for approval by some authority :(    ).

English Wikipedia version of the same topic was even worse (the title states erroneously that it is a battle of AD1656 - here you can see already somewhat corrected entry by truly yours  ) so I, with Radek's encouragement and comments, went to correct or rather write from the scratch the entire article.

 The battle took place during the so called Deluge or the 2nd Northern War, that involved Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Kingdom of Sweden, Kingdom of Denmark, Holy Roman Empire, Ducal Prussia, Brandenburg, Muscovite Russian Empire, Crimean Tatars, Ukrainian Cossacks etc.

This my blog version of this article, still in development, in the spirit of the winter season we have right now in the Northern Hemisphere, 3 days before Christmas :
Prelude to the battle
Towards the end of 1656, Swedish army was blocking our Polish King John Casimir in Gransk/Danzig, who was there conducting diplomatic negotiations with French King Louis XIV envoy Antoine de Lumbres. His wife and  Polish Queen Marie Louise Gonzaga wanted to join her husband there, but she needed the Polish armies to open a passage to Gdańsk through the blockading Swedish armies. According to some sources her enemy but supposedly very chivalrous Charles X Gustav of Sweden was willing to allow Her Majesty to cross over from Wielkopolska to her husband in Pomerania, but she refused this courtesy relying instead on her regimentarz and very famous cavalry commander and zagonczyk Stefan Czarniecki (he will be a subject of my future writings, among other things  since his saddles are said to be at the National Museum in Cracow and Polish Army Museum in Warsaw, and he was depicted in many fine paintings), stationed with his division at Piotrków Trybunalski (old Polish, albeit short-lived, capital) in western Poland. 
Czarniecki ordered his cavalry and dragoons to quit winter quarters and soon they came to Wolbórz,  where she was stationed with her court (and wagons) and together they begun so called 'Gdańsk expedition.' 
Before January 1, 1657 Czarniecki with his division and Her Majesty the Queen and her courtiers with her own wagon train iwithin army's wagon train came to Chojnice. Also other Polish army divisions of Grand Crown Hetman Stanisław Rewera Potocki and Field Crown Hetman Stanisław Lanckoroński joined them at Chojnice about the same time, although they came south from Pomerania. As it was military custom then, the Polish cavalry companies settled across the surrounding countryside, occupying villages and hamlets, and each company being separated one from another by some distance, with the need for fodder and food in mind, and the winter snows adding more separation.
The Battle
Swedish King must have received information about these winter movements and concentration of the Polish army divisions around Chojnice during the last days of 1656 and  perhaps grew worried as they could have been preparing to assault the Ducal Prussia, then his ally etc. Apparently Swedish forced started marching towards Chojnice,  while good and brave Swedish king Carolus X Gustavus ordered  other Swedish forces near the town to scout and reconnoiter the Chojnice area, perhaps intending to surprise Poles in their winter lodgings.
Swedish cavalry command  under Rutger von Ascheberg, stationed around  the castle at Złotow, came up to Chojnice on the night od January 2, 1657, and using a captured peasant as a guide to lead them this cavalry force of 950 horsemen (reitars) comenced to attack.  His command attacked the following Polish formations: pułk of prince Dymitr (according to Pamietniki Losia) Wiśniowiecki, banners of Jan Sobieski and Koniecpolski, that were stationed 'in the middle' of the Polish wintering and spred out cavalry forces.
 According to Polish writer and participant of this battle Loś these Polish cavalry commands were very small, understaffed and spread out, also perhaps in their cups having celebrated New Year with drink and food, and thus rather pretty much unprepared for the surprise night or early morning attack.  Polish losses, listed for the battle, were sustained during that phase of the battle - according to des Noyers' reports. 
Runaways, often without saddles and only in their undergarments, from the Wisniowiecki's command spread the alarm across the entire town of Chojnice and surrounding Polish war camps. 
Meantime Swedish cavalry did  what they would normally do - collected booty, especially fine Polish horses, foodstuffs, captured goods and equipment, several prisoners, and sent them to the rear. It must have slowed their pursuit of Polish cavalry and it  gave ample time to other Polish units to assemble in more orderly fashion and meet the enemy on equal terms and finally to use the advantage of their numerical superiority. 
At some moment of this night and early morning fighting the Swedish advance might have reached the queen's wagon train and she had to seek shelter, perhaps in the town itself (?). But other memoirists do not write  about HMQ being in danger, but rather encouraging her soldiers to stand and fight and actually 'sending' the Czarniecki division into the battle. Once HMQ  gave blessing to Czarniecki, then his command went to the rescue of what was left of prince Wisniowiecki pulk. And perhaps other Polish army divisions came to give more coordinated response to the Swedish vanguard onslaught, and as the break of dawn of January 3, 1657 was slowly approaching.
 As winter day  of January 3, 1657 came then the quite victorious Swedish commander must have realized, that he had stepped into the hornets' nest and begun hasty retreat - according to des Noyers 'bride abattue.' 
His command retreat was made towards the old Teutonic Knights fortress at Czŀuchów, then in Swedish hands. The surprise night attack came to cost him dearly, as Czarniecki's cavalry pursued him without mercy, and Swedish command never turned their head to face their pursuers, and his retreat turned into run-and-chase battle, and thus Swedish cavalry became in turn the Polish prey,  sustaining some 300 dead and many taken prisoners - including 50 Frenchmen serving with the Swedes ( Czarniecki brought them back to his queen and she secured their release, most likely directly  into the Polish army not-so-voluntary enlistment), and among other trophies our Poles captured 3 cavalry banners) .
As stated, the Swedish cavalry found refuge in the Czŀuchów castle and the fortress soldiers fired their artillery at the pursuing light Polish cavalry that then naturally abandoned their pursuit after chasing the Swedes for at least 2 Polish miles or some 14 kilometers. Being the light cavalry  unprepared to assault this old Teutonic stronghold and perhaps in light of rumors about  the king Charles X Gustav forces on a march towards Chojnice they turned away. 
Therefore, shortly after their disengagement from the pursuit of the Swedish cavalry, the Polish commanders decided to avoid any further engagement with the Swedes and to withdraw their force and wagon trains from Chojnice towards Nakło nad Notecią, which they reached marching through the winter roads on January 7, 1657. 
Polish army sustained rather  light causalities: less than 50 killed and wounded, and 9 taken prisoner, as I said before unknown numbers of horses and  Polish wagons were also taken in this Swedish initial surprise attack.
It appears that this Swedish cavalry command sustained some 35-45% losses of their initial numbers and perhaps their losses was severely missed during later weeks when pursing Czarniecki and our brave Queen on their march towards Gdansk.
From their camp at Kcynia near Nakło Polish commanders and her majesty queen haggled a bit about the pay for the soldiers with the soldiers themselves, who had demanded it or threatened to march away. HMQ Marie Louise Gonzaga decided to take matters in her own hands (she was a great 'statesman' and of warrior's heart) and promised to pay soldiers from her own sources. As a result of this pay arrangement Czarniecki (with 6000 cavalry or some others say 2000 cavalry) and Her Majesty Queen (and her wagon train and courtiers) went on to complete their Gdańsk Expedition and eventually joined their Polish king at Gdańsk after some more feints and scrimmages with the 'blinded' Swedish commands.
 The other Polish commanders stayed south of Gdansk Pomerania. They were to fight many more battles against the Swedes and their allies in the upcoming months and years, as one of the heaviest fighting was awaiting them yet.


Primary sources
  • Lettres de Pierre Des Noyers, secretaire de la reine de Pologne Marie-Louise de Gonzague, pour servir a l’histoire de Pologne et de Suede de 1655 a 1659, p. 289 - 290.
  • Pamiętniki Łosia, towarzysza chorągwi pancernéj Władysława margrabi Myszkowskiego, wojewody krakowskiego, obejmujące wydarzenia od r. 1646 do 1667, z rękopismu współczesnego, dochowanego w zamku podhoreckim. Wydal Zegota Pauli, Kraków.Nakładem księgarni D. E. Friedleina.1858
  •  Pamiętnik Mikołaja Jemiołowskiego towarzysza lekkiej chorągwi, ziemianina województwa bełzkiego, obejmujący dzieje Polski od roku 1648 do 1679 spółcześnie, porządkiem lat opowiedziane, Zaklad Narodowy Ossolinskich, Lwow 1850. 
  • Jan Stefan Wydżga i jego pamiętnik, spisany podczas wojny szwedzkiej od roku 1655 do 1660, ed. Kazimierz Wojscicki, Księgarnia G. Senewalda, 1852.

    I am yet to read Patrick Gordon's account (Scottish mercenary in Swedish, Polish and Muscovite service) – he served in the Swedish army during that time – winter 1656/67.
    I wish for some Swedish and German sources, but they tend to vastly exaggerate Polish losses and diminish their own – eg Pufendorf whose writing always has thousands of Poles perishing and Swedes with almost no casualties. 
  • Secondary sources
  • Leszek Podhorodecki, Rapier i koncerz, Warszawa 1985, ISBN 83-05-11452-X, p. 331-332
  • Adam Kersten, Stefan Czarniecki 1599 - 1665, Warszawa 1963, p. 316 - 317.
  • Michał Dymitr Krajewski, Dzieje panowania Jana Kazimierza od roku 1656 do jego abdykacyi w roku 1668. S. Orgelbrand, 1846, p.27-29.
  • Michał Dymitr Krajewski, Historya Stefana na Czarncy Czarnieckiego, wojewody kijowskiego, hetmana polnego koronnego,Nakład Wydawn. Biblioteki Polskiej, 1859. p.87-88

In Fiction – but based strongly on sources and scientific literature
Bohdan Królikowski, Błażeja Siennickiego przypadki wojenne osobliwsze, Warszawa 1978, p.147-153. - this is a very fine work of literature written by Lublin-based university professor, academician and fine historical writer, with many books on the history of Polish horsemen and cavalry.

post scriptum
according to the sources the Polish banners and companies fighting at Chojnice came from the light cavalry and pancerny (raised mostly to substitute the ever-lacking winged hussar cavalry) cavalry, and some dragoons - in fact Polish dragoons just used horses to get to and from the battle, being mounted infantry. Here I tried to paint, using Gimp and MyPaint, a winter clad pancerny companion, armed with a 'dzida'  or rohatyna with a small pennon, bow and arrows, pistols and sabre. He has chain-mail armor and vambraces to protect his forearms. 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Polish hussar sketch III

this is the last one today - progress on some old sketch of mine that needs finishing.

I decided to dress him in more appropriate XVI century Western armor, with a shorter an wider sabre, but with a 'shishak' helmet as shown many late XVI century Polish funerary relieves in some Polish churches  eg. at Oliwa Cathedral shown in this photo hussars at Oliwa . I may put his wildcat skin over the horse, I am not sure yet.

He was mostly painted with MyPaint and some Gimp resizing etc. More finished sketch will follow soon, I hope.

I am also planing to show several Hungarian hussars of the same period, with armor and weapons, Slovakian and Hungarian photos of funeral effigies provided to me by Samuel :)

Meantime, have been looking at this one XIV century Seldjuk  manuscript showing mounted warfare (got it form various Dr. David Nicolle books and articles) and various weapons, some related to the Polish hussars - :) (by the way some passionate person does wonderful reenactment of a Seldjuk warrior  here Seldjuk reenactment  )

Finally I just got from my new friendly library, interlibrary loan, a book by  Dr Colin Taylor titled Sun'ka Wakan, Sacred Horses of the Plains: Ethos and Regalia. - glimpsed at the content and illustrations - wonders, my fellow net travelers, wonders in there!
I have got to fly across the frozen USA this weekend, hope all will work at the airports
 I bought ArtRage Studio Pro as suggested by Jan, we shall see if it works well for me :)

Polish hussar sketch II

this work is really a reworking of a late XVII century image from a painting showing election (Polish-Lithuanian nobles elected their kings Free_election   ). I do not have a large copy of the painting (shown here in this book cover 3277  ) so I decided to 're-create' this late XVII century hussar, amongst other sources using this early XVIII century painting Kalisz1706.jpg  showing Polish-Russian victory over the Polish-Saxon forces during the Great Northern War Great_Northern_War  at the ancient city of Kalish (Roman Calisia).
Progress will happen after the holidays (Christmas and New Year etc ).

would like to welcome new follower of my blog and comment on the fine work my internet friend and follower of my blog Michal/Kadrinazi is doing on his own blog!!! Michal has  got me going on on the subject of falconry, and some talk on this pages should follow... ojala!

Polish hussar sketch I

 some little work has been restarted lately - the idea is that a winged hussar is trying to use his horse's weight and hooves to break the fence blocking his company/banner path.

 It came about when we, Radek Sikora and I, were discussing possibilities of Polish hussars breaking the wooden fence at Klushino field. More finished versions were done then  , and this drawing had remained a sketch for some time until I decided to work on it with GIMP and MyPaint.
Progress work I will show some time later, I hope. Depends on Santa how soon - :)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Battle of Byczyna film on youtube

on Polish history forum one of the users, nicknamed after a great Polish warrior of the XVII century Hieronim Lubomirski, provided a link byczyna  to a fragment of the 1980s Polish TV series titled 'Kanclerz' (the Chancellor) where this intesting battle Polish-Hungarian-German has been depicted - here is the link - Byczyna

Please do note this is a TV film and it does have all the shortcomings of such non-historic media presentation, with all the multiple faults and omissions present, i.e. too short lancers, winged hussars charging as if a mob of hunters and steeplechasers etc. But it offers a feeling of how winged hussars, post-Stephen Bathory reforms, might have looked, and the foggy nature of the weather in the film is a nice attempt to show the actual conditions of the Byczyna battle. Actually this film, made at the end of the Soviet Poland is not a bad work,  and perhaps not as puffed up as a period work by one Polish film director who did 'slaughter' Sienkiewicz's 'With Fire and Sword.'   wiki/With_Fire_and_Sword film

This was one of the more curious battles of the Polish XVI century warfare, but for now please let me leave it at that.

    The image above - some time ago I showed some very old drawings of mine here, one of them   old-watercolor-pen-ink-old I  was intended to show Polish pancerny (medium cavalry) of the Deluge Deluge history and King Jan III Sobieski's  era,  and today I had some time and so I worked on the old drawing (ink and watercolor) with GIMP and MyPaint.  I hope the  results are evident - although more work remains to be done  - :)

ps You can view the clip at Kadrinazi's blog as well husaria byczyna

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Filippo Orsoni's drawings from Victoria & Albert Museum, UK

I would like to share my latest discovery of sorts - a more that 20 drawings XVI century drawings  showing Renaissance warriors, horse harness, armor and horse tack Victoria and Albert Museum in UK.
    I must say that I love the European Renaissance period for their armor and paintings, and also because, a little  sadly, during this period the artists-armourers  sung their swan song when comes to the knightly armor.
   well, nevertheless, before full armor suits gave way to courtly dresses of French court and uniforms of Louis XIV armies, there was this period of great flowering of knightly fine arts and design, especially in Milan and Nuremberg. Goldsmiths, painters, designers and sculptors worked on the final stage in the development of European knightly armor, because of the Renaissance interest in the Antiquity and its arts, they started decorating armor with Roman and Greek ancient fashions. 
One of the most famously known workshops was  the Milanese armourer Filippo Negroli shop/atelier   en.wikipedia Filippo_Negroli , example of his work Burgonet alla Romana Antica   - I could not more warmly recommend a  book, produced by the Metropolitan Museum of Arts, titled Heroic Armor of the Italian Renaissance,  you can get it from the net eg , full of scholarly articles on the subject of XVI century armor and  illustrated with prints, paintings, photos of actual armor, and drawings of actual designs.
In that book I came across drawings of Filippo Orsoni, little known Italian painter and designer,  showing  a fanciful rider dressed for a horse masquerade/parade or horse carousel. Another drawing shown in that book was a designed set of armor of alla antica type (nice introduction in this MET article with bibliography renaissance armor ) for the dashing French monarch Henri II (got to write one on the fine chivalrous king), in this painting he is still   a dauphin of France, dressed in wonderfully adorned half-armor riding a curb-bitted  but  very fine  gray stallion with tied-up tail in a equally splendid war saddle:
This small painting was done by a famous portraiture painter Francois Clouet en.wikipedia. Clouet  is one of several paintings showing Henri II riding his horses,  the king who was known for his passion for horses, hunting, war and one beautiful mistress.

Finally, there is the link to the Victoria and Albert Musem album, well, small part of it, in their display.
Please note you will find on page 18 see a hussar-costumed rider ridding a fine horse, wearing a plumed shishak, armed with a painted lance and Balkan shield; also a Turkish rider and an armoured knightly rider; and a chart showing a war horse depicting potential equine illness - all and all fine drawings, too bad only 20 out of 306 filippo_orsoni

Monday, December 6, 2010

Achaemenid Iranian images from Turkey

 myanda ( Mongolian for sworn-brother ) Patryk Skupniewicz provided me to a link to a news article from  the Circle of  Ancient Iranian Studies the-return-of-colours , regrading already closed  exhibit in the Yapi Kredi Vedat Nedim Tör Museum in Turkey - The subject matter is the reconstructed 470BC  Tatarli Tumulus and beautiful paintings on wood contained herein.
here you can see charging Achaemenid hippotaxotai archer cavalry, armed in two kinds of bows: archers
 Note horse harness (interesting bridle with a bosal?)  and long saddle blankets -shabraques, unfortunately the image is cut off at the horse's croup and we cannot see the tied tails, another typical Achaemenid Iranian and Eurasian steppe tradition.

and here Achaemenid chariot a crew pulled by splendid horses, similar  horse were carved  in  the wall of the Persepolis' Apadana. Reconstructed_Achaemenid_painting_beam3WM

and in addition  a couple of my own drawings and sketches-in progress showing Achaemenid warriors
would like to welcome all new followers - thank you for your interest
by the way I joined this blog - splendid display of  drawings and on the subject comic book images creation  - by one of the finest 'ink' artists out there Marcos Mateu-Mestre
 Marcos has a very new book on comics making titled 'Framed Ink'

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Two Renaisance drawings from 'Joconde'

     Renaissance art is full of horses, and while looking  for some examples of Alphonse de Nueville art (  Alphonse-Marie-Adolphe_de_Neuville  great French military and equine painter  of XIX century) I found two nice Renaissance drawings from France. I find them quite intriguing as they show rather large horses, most likely stallions or geldings, in harness outfits that  resemble Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque  carousels (equine festivals with equine games and displays of courtly ridding).

   Ad rem, the  French net library/depository 'Joconde' offers us these two fine ink wash drawings from the 3rd quarter of XVI century by the workshop of Niccolo dell'Abbate dell'Abbate , Italian artist who worked in XVI century France and was one of the masters of the Fontainebleau School.
In the first drawing we can see a page holding a saddled parade horse, dressed for occasion. It seems to me that our messer Niccolo or his pupil was showing a proposed design for a horse parade outfit, most likely intended   for his royal masters, the House de Valois as horse furniture/harness in this painting showing Francis I and H.R. Emperor Charles V  Franz_I_und_Karl_V    or in this famous full armor portrait of Francis I, nota bene we need to examine it in the future as opposed to the Titian's Charles V portrait ,  commons FrancoisI I France.jpg   Tizian Charles V .  Besides the flamboyant harness we can observe a very nicely decorated war saddle, long stirrup leathers, long curb-bit (long shanks),  two cinches/girths.

Drawing below shows a page riding another caparisoned horse. Here we got this beautifully drawn  example of a gaited horse, ridden by a page with one hand in a really long-shanked curb-bit. Please note that the saddle is different from the one above, it is not a war saddle per se, as it seems to lack the extended thigh protectors characteristic to XV-XVI century war saddles, or perhaps it represents the new type of Western European saddle.  Again we see two cinches/girths and long stirrup leathers. The style of ridding, long stirrups etc, seems to be what the Spanish and Portugese called ' la brida.'
This bridle, like the one above, has a not throatlatch per se, but there is a second 'headstall' attached to the proper headstall acting both a throatlatch and a suspender for a small tassel, done  in the ancient Turkish/Islamic/Mongol fashion.

 Here you can see an example of the master Niccolo painted horses, a but different from these two drawings  - Niccolo dell'Abbate_002.jpg