Monday, February 26, 2018

Maurice de Saxe - about horses for winged hussar-like lancer

Salvete Omnes,
today again we will continue with the Marice de Saxe's ideas for cavalry, this time horses, horse tack and making horse ready for war [the English translation from 1758]

training and conditioning of horses

horse size for the lancer cavalry

saddle and its parts [1st mention]

saddle described

saddle sheepskin and stirrups

more exercises for horses

teaching horses to stand fire
 to be continued...


Sunday, February 25, 2018

Maurice de Saxe - winged hussar-like lancer continued

Salvete Omnes,
I am going to continue from the last post, hence below pleas find ( in French for now and the English translation omits the heavy horse charge underlined in read) more of the Maurycy Saski (Maurice de Saxe) winged hussar-like lancers from his work Reveries or Memories Concerning the Art of War.
This time about charging the enemy:
how to carry out a successful knee-to-knee charge
the role of a cavalry banners in keeping the espirit de squadron
the importance of training as a squadron and as a regiment

lancer at ready
 continued here
 and the last remark

lancer charging
to be continued
note the lancer's lance penon a la Polonoise 

Friday, February 23, 2018

Maurice de Saxe - ideas of winged hussar-like cavalryman

Salvete omnes,
some time ago I read Maurice de Saxe 'Reveries or Memories Concerning the Art of War'  and actually posted his ideas about the mechanical hackamore as ideal for cavalryman.
Presently, I finished looking over, not closely studying, but skimming, of the new Osprey book titled The Cavalry Lance (2017) - the book, well, this work should have been titled The British Cavalry Lance.. But I shall do a more detailed review once I will have read the entire book with some notes and commentaries, so my opinion will be augmented with page citation etc. But in short I am puzzled and disappointed by this book, to say at least.

The authors did not mention de Saxe so in order to lay some groundwork for my review.
Hence here I feel I have to return to the subject  of de Saxe cavalry, especially since he had advocated and actually used lance-armed cavalry during his years as a commanding general in the French service. Curiously, in other Osprey titles other authors did mention de Saxe and his cavalry, including his lancers.

Presently, I will share with you de Saxe ideas for a lancer cavalryman, in armor and with a Polish winged hussar lance/kopia husarska.

He calls them Horse and imagined that 40 squadrons were sufficient for an army of 40-50,000 men.

  some of the de Saxe notes on the appearance and equipment, taken from the translated version:

about the helmet for the Horse companies

 The English translator failed here as per lances (these must have been very foreign to the British readers during the time of publication MDCCLIX), but I am going to add it anyway but first the French original as written by de Saxe, especially it is important here that he calls these lances 'a la Polonoise' or in Polish [winged hussar] style:

De Saxe calls for 15 feet long, hollowed lances and a lance boot attached to the front arch to be used when attacking a foe - exactly in the Polish manner
 Below,  the much edited English version of the above paragraph on the lances:

 to be continued
I will return to the subject of de Saxe saddle as he described it some other time.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Iskandar Nama - XVI century Persian lasso in action

Salvete omnes,
a little change of locus -
let us visit XVI century Persia via illuminations painted for the epic poem tittled  Iskandar Nama (Iskandar-namah, Eskander-nameh) that was written originally by a XII century Persian poet Nizami Ganjavi.
As the tittle tells us this is an epic but very Persianized and Islamized (eg pilgrimage to Mecca)  story of Alexander III or the Great, in many ways the last ruler of the Achaemenid Persian empire, and a hero of many faces in the Persian and the larger heroic Islamic tradition.
Looking at the libre collection of pages from many different versions of Iskandar-namah, I decided to corral some images showing the use of lasso in combat context. Many writers writing within the context of Polish early modern history mention lasso and its use in combat, especially by the Tatars etc, but images are very few and far between.
We have to keep in mind that the Persian Safavid paintings were not particularly realistic, eg the essay written by the great Russian scholar Boris Marshak  in Pearless Images, yet these images may show some sort of reality  when using a lasso on the battlefield within the greater Eurasian milieu.
We see both mounted and dismounted attacks with lasso, used against mounted and dismounted or unhorsed foe.

Please note,
all  images above are just the details taken by me  from the illuminated pages collected on the Wiki Commons gallery

Saturday, February 17, 2018

His Royal Majesty Jan Sobieski & his eagle et Janina

Salvee Omnes,
I do love our Polish White Eagle, so to start this February weekend I would like to share with you
a quick post with some period iconography (corralled from wiki commons) -
 our king Jan III Sobieski, Janina coat of arms, and  our White Eagle bearing king's coat of arms and also Grand Duchy of Lithuania Pogon.



Friday, February 16, 2018

Emir Rzewuski et al

Salvete Omnes,
I am traveling in Andalucia, Spain, this is a  sort of spur of a moment trip. We visited the site of the battle of Fuengirola, one of the few amazing defeats of the British regiments during the Napoleonic Wars. The Polish infantry soldiers - 4th regiment from Duchy of Warsaw - vanquished the British and Spanish allies, against the overwhelming odds.

But my traveling allows for some reading and I have been studying a Ph. D. dissertation by Filip Kucera titled Waclaw Emir Rzewuski (1784-1831): podroznik i zolnierz (Waclaw Emir Rzewuski: traveller and soldier.) .
Dr Kucera submitted his dissertation in the University of Poznan History Institute in 2016. It can be had libre from the Poznan university repository.

It is a fine study, and very detailed, worth every moment of my time. Also, this dissertation one can  use as a gateway to many older works, memoirs, journals and historic works related to our Polish Bedouin and Arabian Horses. 
Nota bene Polish scholars and printmakers have been working on publishing the entire manuscript of count Rzewuski, in Polish and English (with Emir of Qatar help and assistance).

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Jost Amman - horse's care

Salvete Omnes,
quick jump to the XVI century German prints showing horse-related occupations and details.
Jost Amman & consortes -
wagon driver taking his four-horse team for a drink of water? or just showing off his skills

 in the image below the good servant of his master's retinue perhaps took out the horses to drink (note simple bridles) and returning to his camp grabbed a lamb from a field - being industrious and good at his craft

Farriery  at its trade bellow -
horse shoeing

administering medicine


Pacem Aeternam, Darek Senator

Salvete Omnes,
last night I learned that one of the most versatile and finest Polish reenactors and a good comrade died suddenly yesterday.
Pacem Aeternam, Darek (Dariusz) Senator!
thanks for all your help and good word, thanks for good camaraderie and spirit!
My deepest condolences to Darek's Family & Friends

photo from Facebook page @Arkadiusz Czartoryski

I was looking forward to see Darek at the August Historic Military Parade in Warsaw 2018.
Arsenal - Association of Polish Regiments and Companies 1717-1831 - put on their page this eulogy.

I salute You, Darek!
and see you on the other side, bro..

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Polish & Jewish together and separate - around latest hoopla

Salvete Omnes,
I have got this feeling today that I need to comment on the latest hoopla surrounding  the change  of Polish law in Poland [sic!] and the reception of this statutory amendment to the IPN law- link to the amendment.
 My translation of a section of the amended law:
  • Article 55a:
1.  One who publicly and against the facts imputes to the Polish Nation or to the Polish State responsibility or joint responsibility for Nazi crimes committed by the Third Reich, defined in Article 6 of the Charter of the International MilitaryTribunal, Annex[...]major war criminals of the European Axis, signed in London on August 8, 1945 [ Dz. Ust. 1947], or for other offenses constituting crimes against peace, crimes against humanity or war crimes, or who in different manner blatantly reduces the responsibility of the actual perpetrators of said crimes, may be subject to a fine or imprisonment for up to 3 years. The judgment will be made public.
2. If a perpetrator of the act defined in subsection 1 acts unintentionally [he or she] will be subject to a fine or non-custodial sentence .
3. Perpetrator commits no prohibited act as defined in subsection 1 and 2 who has manifested the act as part of artistic or scholarly activity.
There is nothing sudden or new about this law- already in 2016 English-language media in the UK etc were reporting about these proposed changes, eg The Independent.  According to the official statement by the Polish President the Polish officials had been in discussion about this law with their Israeli counterparts since 2016.

It is about the Nazi German genocide, and to lesser extend about the Ukrainian crimes,  against all Polish citizens perpetrated during the World War Two and the Holocaust committed by the Nazi Germans within the pre-1939 Polish Republic's occupied (both Soviet and German) territories during the period of 1939-45. And it is about the invention of Polish culpability, including the invention of the term ''Polish concentration camps,'' by the former-Nazi officials in the Federal Republic of Germany in 1950-60s (part of the German historical policies and blame shifting).

For years media, be it  'fake news' creators and allegedly truthful news media outlets like New York Times et al. in the US, Canada or Australia had been writing about the  Nazi camps as 'Polish ones' and perpetrating the awful lie invented by the Gehlen people/BND - especially by  Alfred Benzinger and Dienststelle 114.

 Back in the 1990s and 2000s I used to call NYT or NY Daily News etc complaining about the lies stated in their biased articles, when writing about old or contemporary Poland, Polish society, Polish history and finally about the mythical and alleged Polish  antisemitism.
Mind you, my immediate ancestors participated in and saved Polish-Jewish  citizens by also hiding  two Polish-Jewish artisans from Lodz Ghetto during the WWII, and they, according to my Grandmother who hid these men in her barn, left for Israel and new life after 1947.
In 1940, I do not remember from my Grandmother's story what part of the year but must have been after April 1940, my Grandmother was beaten to unconsciousness by a Glowno Ghetto German guard for the offense of throwing loaves of bread over the ghetto fence to the ghetto inhabitants on the other side. She was only saved from being beaten to death by her friend, who was a Polish-German woman and her friend since the elementary school. As a consequence she had been unconscious for a week and sick for a month, with my Grandfather in a prison camp since September 1939 and my little father taken care by my Great Grandfather who was a widower.

ad rem, the law had been delayed too long and its final passage last week by the Polish Sejm (parliament ) and subsequent signing of it by Poland President this week will remedy some of this decades-old negligence and outright cowardice on the part of the Polish State as represented by her elected officials, diplomats and academics.
This new mindset displayed by the Polish Republic's  government, especially this novel approach to Polish historical policy,  has been brutally attacked, not criticized [sic!], by Israel and even criticized by US State Department.
The US critics of this law citing the freedom of speech, please note that even in the US freedom of speech is not unqualified, certain type of speech that is not protected under the 1st Amendment of the Constitution, see hate crime statutes.
Nota bene Israel already has many laws  muzzling the expression of speech, eg the 2011 law punishing people or companies for calling for boycott of Israel, eg threat to punish the Amnesty International, New Zealand 2018 example.
How badly this law is needed can be seen in this article by Danusha Goska - it describes an unjust bias and prejudice against Poland, Polish descent and even Polish names in the US, yet then the author concludes that the law is a mistake - please read it carefully. [Do note that I completely disagree with the author's conclusion as to the new amendment to the IPN law being a mistake]

I just want to add here -
remember the Medieval  Statute of Kalisz ('Calisia' in Latin) passed into law by Piast duke Boleslaw Pobozny (the Pious) AD 1264, and adopted as the royal law for the entire Kingdom between AD 1334-62 ,  by last Piast king Kazimierz the Great and subsequent Polish rulers, thus these laws survived in effect until the passage of the May Constitution of AD 1791. Compare this and contrast with the English, Spanish, Portuguese, French or German Jewish histories of the same period.

and the beautiful art by Polish-Jewish artist Artur Szyk illuminating the XX century multilingual re-edition of this Polish Medieval  Statute.

so cui bono?
I hope the truth will ...
cavalryman and officer, rotmistrz Witold Pilecki is the hero of the quest for truth about the Nazi concentration camps, and Jan Kozielewski (better known under the nome de guerre as Jan Karski) comes in as second being the official Polish Government in Exile emissary to the Western, especially American government etc. Along with hundreds of thousands of Polish citizens who participated in this quest, and millions who suffered.
Unfortunately the director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp Museum found no room for the family of rotmistrz Pilecki in 2015, during the 70th anniversary of the liberation of this Nazi camp by the Soviet Red Army.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Gdansk - Dantiscum and Polish riders circa 1620

Salvete Omnes,
so we have started a new month in this still somewhat young 2018.
Circa AD 1620 the northwestern, maritime, parts of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth were rather peaceful and one coastal town was then the finest city of the entire Crown of Kingdom of Poland.
 It had been known then either as Gdansk, or  Danzig or Dantiscum [Latin]. Populated mostly by German burghers who were rather very fine Polish Crown citizen, with a large native population of Polish minority known as Kaszubi [Kashubians], and many emigrants from all over Europe and a fine Cistercian monastery at Oliwa near by. Her ports full of vessels from all over Europe, as this one a city of trade and commerce and manufacturing.
Since her access to the Crown of Kingdom of Poland in 1452 Gdansk was the principal town of the Royal Prussia and the jewel of the Crown, but not without its thorns... however, the city citizens were the most faithful subjects of the Kingdom (except for their small but rather bloody rebellion against king Stefan Bathory - they were horribly slaughtered by the winged hussars at Lubieszow AD 1577) and kept their oaths for the remainder of  Old Poland enduring sieges and invasions by foreign forces, that is until the Prussian Crown betrayal of Polish allies and annexation of the city along with Polish lands in 1793 during the 2nd Partition of Poland.
Ad rem, In the early 1600s Gdansk was very prosperous and vibrant, with the Vistula River providing steady stream of agricultural fruits of the Polish interiors and noblemen coming to buy sumptuous goods produced there or brought in by the Dutch merchants (principally), great wealth was apparent and wealthy patrons abundant thus drawing many artists and artisans.  (libre book in Polish on the preserved drawings from Gdansk from the last quarter of XVI century and first half of XVII century)
One of such artists was Jan [Hans] Krieg, a native of Speicherdorf, now a part of Kalinigrad ( Krolewiec - Konigsberg) in Ducal Prussia, son of Mennonite emigrants from  Holland or Holy Roman Empire. Ducal Prussia was then part of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth so he could move around rather freely, and thus upon his travels and education abroad he finally settled in Gdansk where he painted and drew, married and eventually converted to Catholicism, and after the death of his wife became a monk at the famous Cistercian monastery at Pelplin, a bit south of Gdansk, where he worked beautifying the abbey church and .. assuredly praying a bit. 
Nota bene both Oliwa and Pelplin monasteries suffered losses as to their libraries  during the Swedish Deluge, and their manuscript collections are in large part located in Sweden, and  later the Prussian kings finished the monsateries, for it was the enlightened Prussian Crown who abolished both abbeys and took their libraries and accumulated wealth for themselves during the Partitions of Poland.
Only thanks to the local Polish and Polish-Kashubian population and the Polish Catholic Church that the churches and some of the artwork survived and some of the treasures can be viewed when visiting the monasteries in present day Poland.
painting with the panoramic view of Gdansk

two Polish riders, perhaps one is a winged hussar officer - due to a mace in his right hand - and the second may be a winged hussar towarzysz (comrade) or officer's retainer. Footman is a local Danzig dandy, dressed aina western fashion but in Polish national colors ie. red, with another rider behind in the background on a grey horse. The longish but narrow red schabraque on the bay horse seems to be typical of the 1620-30s period as seen in other Polish paintings showing Polish military of this pre-1650s period.
 I am sure I  will have more images related to XVI-XVII century Gdansk.