“Veni, Vidi, Deus Vicit:” Jan Sobieski Day, September 12
by Bill LevinsonMulticulturalists and other Kumbaya-singers are trying to define September 12 as “Interdependence Day,” when it is in fact the anniversary of one of the most decisive battles in history. On this date in 1683, Central Europe was on the edge of conquest by an Islamic supremacist army. Turkish miners had already undermined at least one bastion of Vienna’s fortress, and only a heroic response by defenders who actually extinguished an explosive charge’s fuze prevented a fatal breach in the defenses. Within days if not hours, militant and expansionist Islam would hold sway over the heart of Europe. That was when the Polish Army showed up, and King Jan Sobieski III was in command.
- The Moslem troops panicked at the sound and fury of the heavy mounted, winged Polish Hussars’ avalanche, and frantically fled off the field of battle. On October 9 at Parkany, Hungary, Sobieski won the decisive battle. Never again did the Islamic military attempt to subjugate Europe.
Coffee:A Polish Gift to Civilization? Polish American Journal, April 1994 by Anthony K. Podbielski, Lt. Col. Aus. Ret.
Adam Zamoyski’s The Polish Way (page 3) reports, “Then the Husaria broke into a wild gallop and the heavy mass of men and horses cascaded over the Turkish ranks, bowling over the first, slicing through the second… The Grand Vizir leapt on to a horse and made his own escape moments before the winged riders thundered up to the tent and the banner was struck.” The reference adds that the Crimean Horde fled from the field without striking a single blow, thus showing that there was at least one way to avoid total disaster from a fight with Polish cavalry: fast horses and a good head start. Afterward, Sobieski proclaimed, “Veni, vidi, Deus vicit:” “I came, I saw, God conquered.”
While infantry and artillery–the highly mobile Polish guns were almost the only European ones that could actually be brought into action–played a major role in clearing the Turks from the foothills of the Kahlenberg Mountain, it was Poland’s Husaria–the most fearsome cavalry to ever ride the earth–that struck the decisive blow.
The last thing that thousands of Islamic Supremacists saw on 12 September 1683.
(Recruiting poster for the First World War by W.T. Benda, public domain due to age)
The unusual wings had two possible purposes. The first was to make a hissing or rattling noise that terrified horses that were not accustomed to it, and the second was to defeat the lariats that were sometimes used by the Tartars. The leopard or tiger fur also was probably quite menacing to horses that were unaccustomed to their appearance or odor. The highly innovative Poles doubtlessly realized that, once they frightened the horse, the man on its back became irrelevant to any subsequent proceedings.
Unlike medieval knights, the Husaria adopted an “all or nothing” doctrine for armor. Although the legs and forearms were not protected, the breastplate was in fact capable of stopping musket fire. They also employed an amazing lance (kopia) whose five or more meters outreached infantry pikes, with the result that winged hussars could split Swedish pike and shot formations like ripe melons. The lance’s secret was that it was hollow, and this kept its weight manageable without sacrificing much strength. Henryk Sienkiewicz’s The Deluge describes its effect on the arguably best European infantry–remember, this military instrument had been developed by Gustavus Adolphus–of the mid-17th century.
- There was a huge sound of a collision then, like a toppling mountain, and then a vast ringing as if a thousand blacksmiths were beating on their anvils. We looked again and—dear God alive!—the Elector’s men were all down and trampled like a wheat field scoured by a hurricane, and they… the husaria… were already far beyond them, with lance pennons flickering…
Next they struck the Swedes. One regiment of Reiters went down like grass before a scythe. Another went under. …They charged the Swedish infantry. They broke them. They shattered them. Everything fled before them, scattering like chaff! Everything was tumbling back, running and recoiling! The whole Swedish army split apart before them and they charged down that gaping avenue like an avalanche. Nothing could stop them! They cut through half of the enemy’s battle line. And then they ran into the Swedish Horse Guards where Carolus [King Charles Gustav] and his staff were standing… And, I tell you, it was as if a windstorm had whirled in among those Guardsmen and carried them away…!
Henryk Sienkiewicz, The Deluge (Kuniczak translation), pp. 815-816
Henryk Sienkiewicz won a Nobel Prize in literature, and his Trilogy (With Fire and Sword, The Deluge, and Colonel Wolodyjowski) are among the best epics that have ever been written.
The Turkish Grand Vizier, Kara Mustafa, was in such haste to flee that he broke a jeweled stirrup from his horse’s tack, and Jan Sobieski captured it as a gift for his wife. The Poles meanwhile cleaned out the Turkish camp, where they found not only the usual prizes of war but a large supply of coffee. An enterprising Pole opened a coffee shop in Vienna: the ancestor of Starbucks and Barnes & Noble’s coffee shops. The modern crescent pastry is reputedly modeled on the captured Turkish battle standards.
Jan Sobieski at Vienna, by Jan Matejko (1838-1893). “I came, I saw, God conquered.”
Note the red flag with the white Polish Eagle. The man at the left is stacking the captured Turkish flags. The wings of the Polish Husaria are visible in the background, as are their extremely long lances. The dead woman in the foreground was probably a slave of the Islamic supremacist besiegers, who murdered their captives once they realized that defeat was inevitable.
So there we have the TRUE significance of September 12. It is not merely the day after the most vicious crime to have ever been perpetrated against the United States, and it is certainly not an “Interdependence Day” for “world citizens.” It is the anniversary of one of the most decisive battles in history: a battle that may well have saved Central Europe from an ideology similar to the one responsible for 9/11.