Thursday, September 30, 2021

Ottoman army at Chocim - Sept.02,1621 - Sultan and his soldiers

 Salvete Omens,

back to Chocim campaign - 


… young sultan Osman II declared war on Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and war preparations entered new phase in the early 1621. But as noted by some chroniclers the Turkish capital elites were much against going to war with Polish realm. Even more than reluctant, they wanted to pay for the already extended costs and expenses towards the 1621 campaign-in-organisation. 


Perhaps the Ottoman Turkish elites and even the imperial merchant class were tired of the constant state of warfare the empire had been in since the late XVI century. Polish observers also noted that lackluster will for war against Polish king and his subjects. But it was the sultan who made his will realized, i.e., by undertaking this 'easy war' against the Polish infidels and their Cossack proxies.

So the Sultan willed and thus his Ottoman army concentrated at Adrianopole (Edirne) in Thrace, outside Constantinople, and the force was to march onto Silitsria. First, they had to march to Nikopolis on the Danube. So the army marched across the Balkan mountains to the valley of Danube and north into Transdanubian principalities. They had crossed 450km of rocky roads and upon entering the valley of Danube, its swampy country. It took them almost a month to make this trek. 


Then they marched along the river in Dobrudja Tatar country, very rough and unhealthy season to be in that swampy province, to the river port town of Galati, in order to cross the Danube in its vicinity. 

Artillery was brought there via the Black Sea shipping and landed on the left bank of the great river. They all came there in July, and starting July 11 the crossing of the great river begun. The bridge built in order to have the army cross was under the strain from the swift currents of the river(about 700 meters wide there), and the Ottoman navy under Kapudan-Pasha had to fight off the Cossack flotilla that attempted to break the bridge. The prisoners taken in this river battle were executed, including murder by pulling them apart with the elephants. The massacre of these Cossack prisoners was to keep the spirit of the army high and bellicose. At the same time other Cossack flotillas attacked Ottoma shipping on the Black Sea, including fighting large scale battles with the Ottoman navy (one flotilla under Bohdan Chmielnicki, future hetman of Zaporozhian Ukraine). While crossing the river, young sultan practiced archery(his arrows were able to hit targets across the river) and received news that his Crimean Tatar vassal, khan Djanibeg/Janibeg Giray, and his 10,000 Tatars crossed the Dniester river and were encamped awaiting the emperor's host.
On July 18th the vanguard of Osman’s army marched away from the Danube. On the 28th of July a column of cavalry under Beylerbey Dylewar Pasha from mostly Kurdish Dyarbekir eyalet in the south-eastern of Anatolia.
On August 16th the vanguard reached old Polish camp at Cecora. There the entire army rested and mustered before their final push towards Chocim on the Dniester River and its Commonwealth defenders.


The army marching from Cecora camp on the Prut River  to Chocim battlefield on the Dnieper River was set up as follows:

10,000 cavalry column from Rumelia and Anatolia commanded by Hussein Pasha.

After them, various units of Wallachian and Moldavian vassals , charged with repair of roads and building water crossings and managing terrain obstacles.
Next, marched the remainder of units from  Anatolia and the sultan’s Kapikulu janissary corps  under Hussein Pasha, the great vizier.

After that ‘division’ marched sultan himself, with his corps of elephants and entire court, with the timariot cavalry and his spahis corps of Kapikulu army.

After the sultan’s division marched the artillery, and then the entire train of wagons and camels, and slaughter animals (oxen, cows, goats and sheep) and spare horse herd.
The entire Ottoman host was screened by the light cavalry, aware of the Cossacks bands that had been lurking around in Moldavia since at least August 8. Hetman Borodwaka and his Cossacks ruined the countryside between Jassy and the Polish border, thus the Ottoman host marched across the despoiled and pillaged country, putting strain on their supply lines and  comforts. 

Crimean Tatars fought the marauding Cossack bands and larger units, and some of the fights were epic, the most memorable were two encounter - the defense of some cave near the Prut River by a small troop of Cossacks against the entire Ottoman army, as the Tatars were reluctant to storm the cave full of firearms and determined Cossack fighters; and the second the defense of about 200 Cossacks who dug pits and felled trees on the other side of the Prut, across from the first fight. They fought the Ottoman might until the darkness of the night, and then tried to make their escape. Only few made it alive to the Polish side. But these and other fights delayed Ottoman progress and caused waste to the country where the Ottomans could have relied on getting supplies.(story of hetmans Borodawka and Konaszewicz_Sahajdaczny conflict and murder during the August march will be for anther time). 

Finally, on September 2nd, 1621 about 3-4 miles from the Chocim Polish camp the vanguard of the Ottoman forces was sighted.
Thus Osman II reached Chocim and his army begun building their widely spaced camps and constructing gun posts for their artillery, while he witnessed his chosen janissaries attack the Cossack camp.

The counting of numbers for this army could present a problem – already, in 1621 contemporary Polish sources noted the following accounting of Osman’s troops:

30,000 Spahis/sipahi,

20,000 Janissaries

60,000 Tatars (Crimeand and Budjak Nogai etc)

100,000 timariot troops and other troops. - in total: 201,000 soldiers [sci!].

Jan Wimmer (1061), modern historian, cestiamted 100,000 Ottoman soldiers, including 15,000 Tatars.
Jerzy Teodroczyk(1984), another modern historian, estimated 110,000 soldiers.


XVII century historians – French Ricaut and Turkish Ayna Ali- provided more precise description, and Polish historian Leszek Podhorodecki put down the following list fore the kapikulu, timariot, volunteers, vassals, artillery etc:

-Beylerbey of Anatolia Hassan Pasha – circa 14,000 (max 25,000)

-Beylerbey of Rumelia Jusuf Pasha – 18,000 (max, 22,000)

-Tayjar Bey Pasha of Aleppo sanjak – 2,000 (max 3,000)

-Beylerbey of Diarbekir Dylewar Pasha - 4,000 (max 10,000)

-Beylerbey of Bosnia Hussein Pasza – 7,000 (mac 14,000)

-sanjak of Tripoli – over 1,000

-Beylerbey of Syvash Ibansagly Hassan Pasha – 3,000 (6,000 max)

-Beylerbey of Karaman Mustapha Pasha – 2,000 (3,000 max)

-Sanjak of Marash under Abazy Pasha – 1,000

-Beylerbey of Damascus Nogai Pasha – 2,500 (5,000 max)

-Beylerbey of Caffa Cherkess Hussein Pasha – 2,500 (5,000 max)

-sanjak of Raqqa – 2,000

-volunteers from Dobrudja – 1,000

-various Ottoman officials’ retinues and nomadic vassals – 5,000

finally, Beylerbey of Buda Karakash Pasha – 5,000 (10,00 max) – that came to the sultan’s camp after the siege battle had already started.

So perhaps 55-60,000 to 70,000 – after all the losses from sickness, marching or even desertion.

Next the Kapikulu sultan corps–

8,000 spahis/sipahi corps

12,000 jannisary corps – commanded by Aga Mehmed Pasha

(a part of the kapikulu corps stayed behind, guarding crossings . And actually deserted during the march)

The artillery consisted of at least 62 guns, including 15 heavy ones (up to 55 punders) – managed by perhaps a less than a thousand soldiers and assistants.

The vassal Tatars – according to Olgierd Gorka, Polish modern historian, - 10,000 Crimean Tatars under the khan, 5,000 Budjak and Dobrudja Tatars under Kantemir Murza; and 1,000 Tatars of the Sultan guard.


Wallachains – under prinece Radu Minchea 6,000 to 7,000

Moldavians – unde Stefan Tomza circa 5,000.


Finally,  all these soldiers were provided for and were supplemented by the unknown number of armed and unarmed camp servants and followers – perhaps as many as 50,- 60,000 thousand men?
Plus thousands of pack camels, horses, draft oxen, cows, sheep and goats, and probably thousands of wagons and carts.

Perhaps it is worth noting that during the first large engagement, the janisaries attack on the Cossacks camp on September 2, 1621, the first Polish-Lithuanian officers killed during this hot fight were two Muslim Lithuanian Tatars - captain Bohdan from Zenowicz’ pulk and captain Czarowicz from the grand hetman’s pulk – these two captains or rotameister died fighting bravely and heroically in the defense of their king and country.



all image from Wiki Commons 

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Chocim aka Khotyn 1621 order of battle - Polish-Lithuanian army

 Salvete Omnes,

One of the most important battles in Polish history, the one of Chocim (Khotyn) 1621,  is not really celebrated in Poland and other former lands of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. But for these celebrations that took part last Saturday in Rzeszow, Poland.

This epic armed conflict  between  Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and  Ottoman Turkey, the culmination of about 20 years of border conflicts, incursions, raids and etc, armed invasions eg Cecora 1620AD.  this year has its 400th anniversary.  And not a small role in  instigating this conflict, apart from the huge role of the Polish  border magnates, Zaporozhian Cossacks and Crimean Tatars,  was played by the enemies fighting during the early stages the 30 Years War -prince Gabor Bethlen on one side and the Hapsburg Empire. Perhaps Gabor Bethlen was instrumental in instigating the Ottoman attack on Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, as he was the enemy of our Respublica. Luckily for the Polish side the victorious Ottoman  commander Iskander Pasha had died before the fighting at Chocim took place.

so I would like to add some info about the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth army that mustered in the defensible war  laager around the medieval Chocim castle  on September 2nd, 1621 AD or at the beginning of a month long   'battle' between the hostile parties. It should be followed by another post about the Ottoman host.

the commander in chief :

Lithuanian grand hetman  Jan Karol Chodkiewicz

three major components of the army:

-mercenary soldiers and their retinues, where appropriate

-the Zaporozhain Cossacks

-magnate and lesser lords private banners and companies with appropriate retinue and warmed camp followers.

Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth army at Chocim had also several separate commands -


-Lithuanian  grand duchy,

these former armies were untied under one register.

 -Zaporozhian Cossack

Now, as far as the total number of soldier there are two troop lists aka registers, that differ slightly as to the number of units and horses/portions(infantry),  of the Crown and Lithuanian army divided into different types of units:

Register one                                                                                              Register Two 

1. Winged hussars :

  -53 banners or 8520 horses (paid for soldiers on paper)          or             - 70 banners       or 8600 horses

2.  Pancerny kozak calvary and lisowczyk banners                     

  -66 or 8450 horses                                                                    or    -75 kozak cavalry or 7700 horse and 10 lisowczyk/1300horse

3.  German  reiter cavalry 

- 10 companies/ 2160 horses                                                       or - 12 companies 1300 horse

4.  regiments of German infantry

-5 regiments / 6450 portions                                                          or  -6 regiments  6100 portions

5.  Polish and Hungarian hajduk infantry

-29 companies/ 7600 portions                                                         or -30 regiments /8000 portions

all together 

33180 horses and portions.                                                             or- 33000 horses and portions

 Crown and Lithuanian army also included the camp followers, and some historians count to add about 30 to 35,000 armed camp followers from the hussar, kozak pancerny, reiter and  infantry commanders' retinues to the total number of armed combatants. The actual numbers of paid soldiers were at least 10% smaller in fact or so it this thought.

 The second important component consisted of the Zaporozhian Cossacks commanded by hetman Petro Konaszewicz-Sahajdaczny and it consisted of about 25-30,000 soldiers or portions(?)

 So for the purpose of operational and tactical combat application this Commonwealth army was divided into 'pulk' or temporary divisions of various sizes -
1.prince Władysław Vasa - 10,180 horses and portions

2. Grand hetman Chodkiewicz - 4,600 horses and portions

3.voivode Lubomirski -  3,350 horses and portions

4.Maciej Lesniowski - 1,000 horses and portions

5.Jana Mikolaj  Boratynski  - 859 horses and portions 

6.Mikolaj Zienowicz - 1,750 horses and portions

7.Aleksander Sapieha - 2,000 horses and portions

8.Piotr Opalinski - 1,600 horses and portions

9.Mikolaj  Kossakowski - 1,300 horses and portions

10.Mikolaj & Prokop Sieniawski, 1,200 horses and portions

11.Stanislaw Rusinowski - 1,200 lisowski horse

in addition there were 2,650 horses and portions that were not included in these 'pulks', as they arrived separately into the war laager  and thus not assigned to any division.

The army had circa  30 pieces of field artillery, only few of them heavier guns.  


Zaporozhian Cossacks, with their separate camp extended along the river constituted a self-operating rather huge division ( we do not know how they might have been divided and operated other than they did have a 'pulk'  organization too) -  like I said experienced fighter, scholar and commander hetman Petro Konaszewicz-Sahajdaczny commanding.   

From the very first day the Commonwealth army was not sufficiently provisioned with foodstuffs, horse fodder, munitions and especially gun powder. For some reason  the river Dniester was not used to ship food and war supplies into this war laager. Which is interesting in itself since all Commonwealth large rivers were used as the  shipping and trading highways, yet Dniester was no used to provide supplies to the fighting army.

to be continued


Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Plowce 1331 - battle that saved Polish Kingdom

 Salvete omnes,

let us travel on a fast horse to 1331AD, when on 27th of September or 690 years ago Polish Crown army 'ambushed' the Teutonic Order army rearguard marching towards Brzesc Kujawski, in their, Teutonic Order,  attempt to conquer the duchy of Kujawy, and divide the Polish kingdom etc.

The Polish realm, slowly raising from the XIII century divisions and fragmentation, was ruled by His Majesty Wladyslaw I had been at war with the Order for a long time, from a hybrid war to an open combat et; mostly because the Order conquered the Baltic  province of the Polish realm- the Gdansk Pomerania, and also took by false pretenses the Ziemia Chelminska (Tierra Culmenssis), and had ample designs to take more.

The latest truce between the sides, negotiated already in the fall of 1330Ad with the arbitration by king of Bohemia John of Luxembourg and the papal legate, with  was to expire on June 24, 1331. 


The Grand Master Luther von Braunschweig had planed to meet with the king of Bohemia's army near Kalisz (Calisia of the ancients) in the central part of the Polish kingdom in mid, crica 21st of September 1331AD.

Firstly,  in the early summer the Order sent a raiding army to raid, kill, pillage and burn Duchy of Kujawy, Polish king's ancestral province,  in order to reduce potential operational and economic abilities of Kujawy (Cuiavia) as the bulwark against the Order invasion of Polish Kingdom. Commanded by Grand Marshal Dietrich von Altenburg and komtur of Kulm Otton von Luterburg, this force consisted of cavalry only - 200 Order brother knights, and many mounted retinues of Prussian, Pomeranian and Kulm vassals.  They crossed the border on the 22nd of July, captured Bydgoszcz,  besieged Inowroclaw, marched south towards Kruszwica (where Piast prince Kazimierz Ziemomyslowic ruled), passed that stronghold and continuously burning and enslaving the population reached Pyzdry on the 27th. There they hoped to capture the king's governor and sole heir apparent, prince Kazimierz (future the Great). There, near the town and castle, the Order raiding force came to grips with the Polish forces lead by Wincenty of Szamotuly(who was not fully supportive of his king and lukewarm towards fighting the invasion), Mikolaj of Nowy, and Tomasz of Zajaczkowo. The Order army won the pitched battle, truncating the GreatPoles without destroying them, but perhaps because they saw the gathering of the Polish defenders, stayed on the right bank of the Warta River, and marched on Poznan, the capital of Greater Poland.  The Order army was divided, one marching on towards Poznan, while the smaller division went southerly towards Srem.  Near Bnin this smaller division failed to break the earthworks defended there the local levy and Polish horse, and this diversion ended with the Teutonic marching towards Gniezno.  The Order army took Klecko and burned it, and also took Gniezno, burning the town but for  the cathedral and two monasteries. Along the destruction of towns and churches, they burned and plundered villages belonging to the archbishop of Gniezno in Kujawy and Wielkopolska (Greater Poland), enslaving inhabitants and killing those who tried to defend their homes and knightly keeps. Last town to be taken and burned was Znin. This lightning raid ended with the Order army crossing the border and entering Torun (Thorn) castle sometime  in the first days of August.


On the 12th of September,  a new army, much greater and including infantry, foreign guests aka crusaders, and war and siege engines, left Torun to march onto Kalisz in Kingdom of Poland, to link with John of Luxembourg army of Bohemia there.

The commander in chief was Otto von Lueterberg, Kulm komtur, aided by the council of Grand Marshal Dietrich von Altenburg, Elblag komptur Herman von Oetingen, Gdansk komtur Albert von Oere, Heidrich von Haugevitz, Grudziac komtur Gunter von Schwarzburg, Balga komtur Herman Reuss von Plauen, and Grand Komtur Otto  von Bonsdorf. Livonian Sword Brethren also sent a contingent of troops led by Land Master Eberhard von Monheim. The foreign guests or the crusaders were dominated by a large English contingent of 100 knights? knights and men at arms?, led by Thomas de Ufford, son of Sir Rober d'Uffort?.

 Prof. Marian Biskup, in his work Bitwa pod Plowcami (1981) estimated this invading army to have been about 7,000 strong - 200 Order knight brothers, 100 foreign knights, about 1,7-1,800  mounted men at arms, and 2000  retainers/ lighter horsemen from Prussia and Kulmland, finally several thousands of the town and peasant infantry and train and packhorse crews, mostly  from the Elblag  and Balga komturias. 

They did reach Kalisz on the 21st nd put the town and castle to siege, but failed to capture strongly defended Kalisz. Meantime, John of Luxembourg failed to appear with his Bohemian army (due to the Polish ally king of Hungary diversion and menace, and actual fighting against  Silesian Piast duke Bolko I of Swidnica near Niemcza, so his Bohemian army approached Poznan in the last days of September, too late do accomplish anything). So various raiding columns of Teutonic Knights spread terror and slaughter in the Polish lands,  among the towns destroyed they burned and slaughtered Sieradz, the capital of Sieradz land.

On the 23rd the Order army left strongly defended Kalisz, and started marching towards their border.

 Polish Crown forces, concentrating near Leczyca, were commanded by His Royal Majesty Wladyslaw I, but at first the 'spiritus movens' was duke Wladyslaw Siemowitowic and his local Leczyca land knights and men at arms, and local levy.  Soon banners and retinues from Greater Poland, Sieradz land, Little Poland reached the king's concentration area.  Wincenty of Szamotuly made peace with our king and even more Greater Poland knights and men at arms joined the royal army, this time already marching after the Order's army.
Thus, the royal army, perhaps 4000 fighting men and horses strong (with servants and camp followers), presented a sizable fighting force ready to inflict some damage on the invaders.

 Near Konin the vanguard of the royal army,perhaps ambushed, fought against the sudden night or late evening attack of the Order's rearguard?. Although the fighting was not unfavorable towards our king,  Wladyslaw I ordered the army to pull back. Left to their own designs Teutonic army stormed Konin and burned it.
On the 25th the Order troops crossed the Notec River and aiming to capture as many as possible Kujawy towns and strongholds the central command decided to march on Brzesc Kujawski, the capital stronghold of Kujawy. On the 26th they reached Radziejow, only 25km from Brzesc Kujawski. On the 27th the Order army divided, with about 2/3 (5,000?) marching towards Brzesc to set up the siege and siege engines. Otto von Luterberg commanded this division, with Herman Reuss von Plauen commanding  his vanguard.

Dietrich von Altenburg was left with about 2,000 rearguard - defined in the sources as minor par exercitus - with perhaps 350 Order knights and men at arms. They had infantry and pack trains and  wagons, and food supplies, and the ensign carrying the grand banner of the Order also traveled with this rear-group.

Before 9 AM, 27th of September, this rearguard entered the marshy terrain covered with dense fog south of Radziejow.  Polish vanguard commanded by Wincenty of Szamotuly encountered this Order column, and waited with their attack until fog would had lifted. Since Grand Marshal knew about the Poles, he ordered his force into 5 unit commands, perhaps similar arrangement was followed by the Poles. Morning fog had lifted and the battle was joined between Plowce and Jarantowice.  After  about 3 hours of fighting, one of the crossbow-armed Polish retainers mortally wounded the horse ridden by the Order ensign with the Grand Order  Banner. He went down with his horse, and could not raise the banner up pinned under the fallen horse.  Panicking the Order army collapsed, was cut down and taken prisoner with few escaping towards Brzesc.
Sources  (eg Chronicle of Oliwa) say  that  the 56 brother knights were killed, including komtur Otto von Bonsdorf, Herman von Oettingen, and Albrecht von Oere, while Dietrich von Altenburg was wounded and taken prisoner.  The train and wagons were taken by the royal army.
King Wladyslaw ordered his royal army to march toward Brzesc, and around 1 PM the vanguard of his marching army was attacked by the Order troops.  The fighting, or the new battle, started in earnest. Heinrich Reuss von Plauen was taken prisoner, komtur Eliger von Hohenstein and 40 other Order brothers were taken prisoner.  During the afternoon fighting komutr of Torun Heinrich Rube was also killed. 


Royal army was pushed by the main body of the Order force under Otton von Lutterberg back to the side of the morning battle - perhaps some 5km. Then our King ordered the bodyguard protecting prince Kazimierz to withdraw and ride away south.
Polish historians think that the banners from Little Poland gave way to the Order onslaught and thus many Little Poland knights were killed and taken prisoner (Krystyn of Ostrow, Jakub of Szumsk, Grzegorz Nekanda, Grzegorz of Morawica etc).

About  3PM (sunset that day was to be about 4:30 PM ) fighting slowly died out,as the Polish forces continued fighting withdrawal from the battlefield. 

The Order army kept the battlefield but was truncated and full of wounded and tired and dispirited. Thus probably during the night  of 27th going on the 28th they left the battlefield and marched away to Torun, some 50km away.

 Before marching Otton vo Luterberg ordered killing of about 600  lesser Polish prisoners, saving only 56 knights for the future ransom etc. (nota bene they recaptured Dietrich von Altenburg).


Nota bene the execution-style killing of the Order brothers taken prisoner by our king's forces seemingly  on Wladyslaw I order was a typical Order propaganda (plenty of it during the XIV and XV centuries) , and is not supported by the sources.
But various German, especially Prussian and Nazi,  historians  wrote copiously about it, and English and American historians copied it, including the Wikipedia.
We don't know how many Order brother knights were killed in total, at least 73 bodies of them were brought back to Torun. The Bishop of Wloclawek ordered the burial of the dead on the battlefield the following day, burials coming to a total number of 4187 bodies buried. According to the primary sources, most bodies were to belong to the invaders.
Polish army encamped by Brzesc Kujawski and on the 30th of September negotiations about the prisoners were conducted between the king and komtur Gunter von Schwarzburg. 

Thus the historians say that the decisive engagement in the fields of Plowce and Radziejow broke the 1331 Order offensive and thus saved the Kingdom from  a possibility of actual partition between the Order and Bohemian king. 

The following year the Order alone invaded again and in fact conquered the duchy of Kujawy, but in 1334 the Teutonic Brother returned the land, people and towns etc to our Kingdom and our new king Kazimierz.
Our ancestors had to wait until 1409Ad when the great war was started, but this is a different story.

Pacem Aeternam to all.


Monday, September 27, 2021

Cecora 1620 - Royal army of Commonwealth or Respublica

 Salvete Omnes,


before there was Chocim 1621 there had been the Cecora campaign, Polish invasion of Moldavia  that ended in a major disaster for the Commonwealth army and most of its participants - including the heroic death of the commander in chief Stanislaw Zolkiewski and his reiter bodyguard.

The Royal army the marched across the Dniester River into the Moldavian territory;
the army had circa 7,000 horses and portions, divided into a  'pulk ' (temporary divisions) large operational units[1]:

Commander in chief - Crown grand hetman Stanislaw Zolkiewski 

 (all units identified by the commanders' names)

1 pulk - commanded by the grand hetman de jure, but it was actually commanded by a winged hussar banner captain Makowiecki

- cavalry in total 1,220 lances and horses:

Winged hussar banners:

1. grand hetman banner led by Malynski - 270 lances

2. starost of Chelm Danillowicz - 150  lances 

3. starost of Halicz Makowiecki - 150 lances

Pancerni kozak cavalry:

1.starost of Winnica Aleksander Ballaban banner- 150 horses

2. Dworycki/Dworzycki banner - 150 horses

3.  voivode of Ruthenia Jan Danillowicz banner -300 horses 

4. Wolmar Farensbach banner - 50 horses

 Infantry  450 portions

1. Royal court Polish infantry company -300 portions

2. Farensbach's company - 50 portions

3. voivode of Ruthenia Jan Danillowicz's German infantry company  - 100 portions

total 1,670 lances, horses and portions

2nd pulk - Crown field hetman Stanislaw Koniecpolski

 Cavalry in total - 1,100 lances and horses

Winged hussars banners:

1. field hetman own banner - 200 lances

2. Marcin Kazanowski - 150 lances

3. voivode of Braclaw Potocki - 150 lances

4. Strzyzowski - 150 lances

Reiiters or German pistoliers

1. Herman Denhoff's banner - 200 horses

Pancerni kozak cavalry

1. Odrzywolski (actually commanded by Ujazdowski) - 150 horse

2. Lewikowski - 100 horse

Infantry 430 portions

1. field hetman's own company commanded by Damiecki - 230 portions

2. Rybinski Polish levied infantry-  200 portions

total pulk number of lances, horses and portions - 1,530 

3rd pulk -starost of Halicz Mikolaj Strus (famous 'defensoe' of the Kremlin in Moscow in 1611-12)

all Cavalry unit

Winged hussar banners

1.son of voivode of Podolia Sieniawski - 100 lances

2 Malinski - 150 lances

Pancerni kozak cavalry

1. Mikolaj Strus own banner - 100 horses

2. starost of Chmielnik - 100 horses

3. Kowalski - 100 horses

Private volunteers and their retainer - 1500 horses

total pulk number of lances and horses - 2,050 

4th pulk - prince Samuel Korecki

Total cavalry numbers - 600 lances and horses

Winged hussars banners:

1. prince Korecki's own banner -150 lances

2. castellan of Kamieniec Podolski - 100 lances

3. Wrzeszcz - 150 lances

Pancerni Kozak banners:

1.prince Samuel Korecki's own - 100 horses

Light cavalry -

Lithuanian? Tatars - 100 horse archers

Infantry companies - total 300 portions

1.Wiadrowski - 200 portions

2.Ujazdowski - 100 

Total pulk numbers - 900 lances, horses and portions

5th pulk - starost of Kamieniec Podolski Walenty Kalinowski

  total number of lances and horses - 500

Winged hussar banners:

1. starost of Kamieniec Podolski  own - 150 lances

2. Firlej -  150 lances

Pancerny Kozak - 

1.  Kalinski - 100 horses

2. Wachowski - 100 horses


1. Starost of Kamieniec Podolski own Polish infantry - 100 portions

2. Starost of Kamieniec Podolski own Ruthenian infantry - 100 portions

total pulk number of lances and horse and portions - 700

Finally, Teofil Szmberg was nominated  as the commander of all artillery (16 small field peices and some heavy muskets mounted on wagons  ), while Stanislaw Trzebuchowski became  the general commander  of infantry.

Master of camp/wagon laager was Jan Odrzywolski.

about 3,200 men of this army were the so called 'state soldiers' and under the direct command of the grand hetman, while about 3,600 belonged to the private banners and companies owned and paid for by magnates and lords, esepcially Kalinowski and prince Korecki and their 'vassals' and partisans.
additionally, other private and mercenary units came streaming in to join the marching  royal army between the 1 of Spetmeber and 12th of Septmeber, like the 800 soldiers under Stefan Chmielecki, who was a partisan of prince Korecki.   Janusz Tyszkiewicz joined the army with 400 Cossacks and 200 infantry.

Then,  there were the 12 banners of Lisowski kozaks or  Lisowczyks - various sources Hurmuzaki and Miaskowski etc state different numbers, perhaps between1,300 to 1,700 most seasoned horsemen - -  under Walenty Rogawskiwith very few retainers if any, but for their commander and officers retinues. They came late on the 11th of September, with a 100 horse banner of Slowinski,, and with another 150 horses banner of prince Zbaraski?.

In total, before the hostilities on the 17th of September the Royal army might have been circa 10,000 lances, horses and portions, and in addition  perhaps 8-10,000 camp servants (the infantry was very small in number while cavalry companions relied on their service), that provided for horse fodder, food and herding horses.

 On the 2nd and 3rd of September this army, already divided by politics and personal dislikes, crossed te Dniester River, without awaiting the troops coming to join them from the interior of Commonwealth.

On the 7th of September hospodar or prince Graziani join the royal army with as little as 600 Moldavians and mercenary Serbians (Graziani had promised 15,000 troops, but as we can see he  failed miserably). Additional 400 Wallachians  horsemen led by two captains broke away from the Ottoman command and joined the royal army.

On the 12th of September the entire army reached the old fortified campground near Cecora on the Prut River and on that date perhaps as many as 11,000 thousand lances, horses and portions camped at Cecora war laager. Instead of marching on to contain and  besiege   the Iskander-Pasha small Ottoman army at Tehinia/Bender, our grand hetman chose to await the enemy at the fortified war laager.

[1] army and war camp organization near the so called 'Gruszka' wilds (12 km east of Mohylev)  Sept 1, 1620AD re , Majewski, Cecora, p. 142-45


Kircholm 1605 - 27th of September

 Salvete Omnes,

today is yet another anniversary of the famous battle of Kircholm 1605 - so here find some links to scholarly articles

 Grand Duchy of Lithuania Field Hetman Jan Karol Chodkiewicz famously crushed the army of the Swedish usurper Karl IX Vasa. 

Polish researcher Mariusz Balcerek provided, on his page, various research papers on or about this famous  military engagement

 in Polish -
- Orde de Bataille of both armies .

Poles in the army of Karl IX at Kircholm.

 Jan karol Chodkiewicz's Army

Duchy of Kurland and Semigalia at Kircholm

and others ...

while you are on YouTube you can watch some video productions on this battle eg  from Kings and Generals

 Paceam Aeternam to all the fallen soldiers


Sunday, September 26, 2021

Cecora 1620 - Iskander-Pasha, Tatars and Ottoman army

 Salvete Omnes,

re: Cecora-Chocim battles theme  as the anniversaries are here- 

let us turn our attention to the Ottoman forces that 401 year ago took to the field against the Polish-Lithuanian Crown army that marched into Moldavian territory in September 1620AD. 

Faced with the Commonwealth invasion led by grand hetman Stanislaw Zolkiewski  the Ottoman Empire command   in the region had various types of troops available to them, namely, the imperial troops paid by the state, nobles levy (toprakly) and finally the vassals,allied and tributary troop. The most important allied soldiers were units brought by the Crimean Tatars and steppe Tatars (Nogai, Budjak etc).

The experienced northern  Ottoman commander  beylerbey of Silistria   Iskander (Alexander) Pasha who according to the Turkish sources could have been Hungarian, tall and brave (like Rustam of the ancient fables) shaved his beard in a Bulgarian fashion leaving a big mustache - was to command this rather motley of forces to face the invasion.

Iskander-Pasha was rather quite experienced in warfare against our Polish-Lithuanian armies on this front.

as far as I can gather he might have  been  one of the lower Ottoman and Tatar commanders led by Ibrahim Pasha, Wali of Silistria, that defeated large Polish-Lithuanian army (large component consisted of  winged hussar banners) at Sasowy Rog on July, 19 1612AD; 

Iskander Pasha  is certainly known as the  victorious commander over another Polish-Lithuanian army (that had large contingent of winged hussars) again at Sasowy Rog in Moldavia on August 2, 1616. His command contained Ottoman, Tatar, Moldavian, Wallachian and Transylvanian troops.

In the summer of 1617 he commanded a large (perhaps 40,000 strong) army, but apart form raiding some villages, including burning of Raszkow on the Polish side of Dniester, there was no large action against the Polish side recorded. But by standing on the border, i.e,  Dniester river, and threatening the Polish-Commonwealth with a savage invasion,  this warlike demonstration resulted in a peace treaty of Busza (September 23, 1617), where Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth agreed to stop interfering into the Moldavian, Wallachian and Transylvanian(Bethlen Gabor ) affairs, stop the Zaporozhian Cossack invasion into the Ottoman lands, and  return Chocim castle, on the Moldavian side of the Dniester Rive, to the Moldavian principality.  The Ottomans were to stop the Tatars from riding into the Commonwealth.  Both sides immediately and consequently always  failed on the prohibition of riding each other by their proxies.

The 1620 found him rather short of large number of Ottoman troops when compared with 1617 and without any support from Bethen Gabor and other vassals, but  the Tatars were present and ready, and he was aided by various Ottoman regional commanders with their very limited troops - 

We know that  had some jannissaries and  sipahi cavalry units, and Ottoman artillery. Probably he had a body guard of chosen troops, including the deliler (deli singular) or guard cavalrymen, and all his Ottoman commanders had such bodyguard troops. Chronicler Naim claimed that Iskander Pasha had only 1000 of his own troops.
Five other sanjaks provide some troops, commanded during the battle by these commanders:  Jusuf Pasha  beylerbey of Rumelia, Circassian  Hussein Pasha, Nikopol Mutasarrif Chyzyr pasha, Vidin Mutasarrif Sarymsak-Terjaki Muhammed Pasha (after the ''Collectanea or the compliation of Ottoman' primary sources translated into Polish by Sekowski, and published in 1824 in Warsaw, Congress Poland)

Crimean Tatar horde units  were led by Galga Soltan Devlet Giray, aided by Neberd Giray and varied in number, more about the numbers below.

Uymak(horde) of  the Nogai Tatars was commanded by their zealous ghazi warrior and enemy of the Christian foe - Kantemir Murza and his brave sons- Urak Mirza, Selman-shah and Ynayet-Shah and Weli-shah.
Finally there were also Wallachian tributary troops

Period Ottoman Turkish sources claimed that iskander Pasha had less than 10,000 soldiers under his command.

Polish contemporary sources saw various numbers - 10-15,000 Tatars and about 2-300 Ottoman Turks plus Wallachian tributaries.
We should also think that there were camp servants - all professional cavalry and troops had servants, all noble cavalry had armed servants and non combatant retinues, and also led thousandth of animals, spare horses, train and pack animals, and animals for food. Also Ottomans often counted all living beings as the part of the army, but it appears that here they just counted the combatants.

Polish historian Majewski in his book 'Cecora,' p 180,  set forth the following numbers for the combined forces commanded by Iskander Pasha:

2000 Ottoman soldiers (imperial?)

2-3000 Nogai Tatars

6-8000 Crimean Tatars. led by 

eg Leszek Podhorodecki saw the Iskander Pasha army as:
4-6,000 Ottoma Turks and Wallachians

5,000 Nogai under Kantemir Murza

6-8,000 Crimean Tatars



Friday, September 10, 2021

Rusinowski i jego poczet husarski AD 1616

 Salvete Omnes.


wrzesień z punktu widzenia historii naszej nie jest łatwym miesiącem na wspominanie  - min. głownie dlatego, że  wszyscy zdają się pamiętać li tylko klęskę i tragedię roku AD1939 (i całej wojny 1939-45 i późniejszego okresu partyzanckiej wojny z najazdem ZSRR i consortes), zapominając o wielkich przewagach naszych przodków i klęskach zadanych wrogom naszym w bitwach potkaniowych, walnych, zagonach i oblężeniach etc w epoce staropolskiej.

A właśnie w  tym miesiącu przypada rocznica, i to okrągła bo czterysetna, jednej z najważniejszych i największych  bitew epoki staropolskiej - Chocimia 1621AD, gdzie połączone armie Rzeczpospolitej i przy udziale kozaków zaporoskich zwycięsko starły się z samym sułtanem Osmanem II i  całą potęgą Imperium Osmańskiego i jego wasali na terenie księstwa Mołdawii w warownym obozie wokół zamku i   miasteczka Chocim nad Dniestrem (dzisiaj Ukraina).

Dzisiaj chciałbym zapoczątkować serie wypisów na temat tej pomyślnej bitwy, kampanii oraz jej uczestników zamieszczając tutaj opis wyposażenia pocztu husarskiego mości pana Stanisława  Rusinowskiego  z AD 1616, pocztu typowego do epoki, bo na 3 konie tj towarzysz i 2 pocztowych, - zaczerpnięty z książki Radosława Sikory pt 'Wypisy źródłowe do dziejów husarii' , strony 107-109- jednej z ważniejszych prac wydanych ostatnimi czasy dotyczących historii najpiękniejszej jazdy świata - naszej skrzydlatej husarii.

Poczet ten i inne poczty z roty husarskiej Jarosza Sienkiewicza idącej taborem pod Smoleńsk AD 1616, na wezwanie hetmana Jana Karola Chodkiewicza, zostały napadnięte i ograbione przez swawolne żołdactwo na grobli 'na strzelanie z łuku oddalonej' od miasta Hłusk w Wielkim Księstwie Litewskim.

Towarzysza pana Stanisława Rusinowskiego szkody:
parepę pod nim postrzelono i zabito złotych pięćdziesiąt, 

konia jezdnego postrzelono na powodzie złotych dwieście, 

żywności wozów cztery, z rozmaitymi leguminami złotych pięćdziesiąt pięć, 

wóz z czterema końmi siwymi, kosztowały konie złotych sto, za wóz kryty złotych dwadzieścia, 

zbroi polerowanych z szyszakami trzy złotych sześćdziesiąt, 

namiot turecki złoty pięćdziesiąt, zarękawia drobnego par dwie złotych pięćdziesiąt, strzelby różnych sztuk sześć,

złotych pięćdziesiąt, olstra z aksamitnymi workami cztery złotych osiem, koncerzy dwa złotych dziesięć, 

siodeł husarskich trzy złotych trzydzieści, nagłówków trzy z uździeniczkami złotych pięć, kord złotych cztery, 

półszorek nowy złotych osiem, puśliska dwoje złotych dwa, popręgi dwa kirem podszyte złotych dwa, delia czerwona,

pętlice czerwone, szlamami podszyta złotych czterdzieści, kurta czerwona falendyszowa, 

pętlice złote, guzików złocistych trzydzieści złotych dwadzieścia,

guzów złocistych tuzinów pięć w cętki robionych złotych dwadzieścia pięć. 

Rekognicyja do wojska na złotych dwadzieścia pięć, tamże i listy rozmaite i oblig tamże do wojska 

na koń sto pięćdziesiąt litewskich, chusty białe złotych dwadzieścia, czapka falendyszu czerwonego misiurka,

 w niej wyłogi sipskie złotych sześć falendyszu czerwonego łokci sześć, złotych osiemnaście, 

lazurowego[falendyszu] łokci trzy złotych dziewięć, butów safianowych z ostrogami par sześć złotych sześć, 

pościel, materace, kołdra, płotek, wały, poduszki atłasowe złotych pięćdziesiąt, welense trzy złotych dwanaście, 

szuflada z ładunkami, prochami, formami, ołowiem z bastrumentami i drobiazgami rozmaitymi żelaznymi złotych dwadzieścia, 

korzenia za złotych dziesięć, kobiercy tureckich trzy złotych dwadzieścia cztery, magierka preszburska złotych trzy. 

Stajenne rzeczy, koce, prześcieradła, deki, kulany, wyciągacze, popręgi, kantary, uździeniczki, rynkgorty, zgrzebła i 

insze drobne stajenne rzeczy złotych dwadzieścia, sukna brzezińskiego łokci piętnaście złotych cztery, 

kuchenne rzeczy złotych dziesięć, czeladnych rzeczy osiem sukni pachołków, chusty białe, kożuchy, koców złotych czterdzieści.”


W toku prywatnej korespondencji z  dr Radosława Sikory  na temat wielkości pocztu mości pana Rusinowskiego, otrzymałem taką informacje co do składu tego pocztu, którą poniżej zamieszczam i za którą dziękuję:

'Poczet ten posiadał: 1 towarzysza, 8 czeladników (z tego 2 pocztowych i 6 luźnych), 5 wozów.

Prawdopodobnie 12 koni do wozów, 2 konie dla towarzysza (parepa i jezdny), 2 konie dla pocztowych, 1 koń dla luźnego (17 koni).' 


wygląd pocztu zilustrowałem taką oto grafiką specjalnie wykonaną na te okazję -

nota bene całość cytowanego źródła jest opatrzona przypisami, i można sobie postudiować te i inne dokumenty źródłowe w wyżej wymienionej pracy.