The charge of the Winged Hussars: the lifting of the Siege of Vienna

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Some further details on the lifting of the Siege of Vienna:

On this day in history, September 12, 1683, the combined forces of the Holy Roman (German) Empire and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (the Holy League), under the overall command of King Jan III Sobieski of Poland, moved into position to engage the Ottoman Turkish besiegers outside the walls of Vienna. Fierce clashes followed. Imperial / Holy League forces made headway against the Ottoman invaders, but were unable to conclusively defeat them.

At around 3:00 in the afternoon, King Jan began to move his cavalry into position. As they came out of the woods and began to form up, they were greeted with enthusiastic cheers by the allied troops. An hour later, about four o’clock, the Polish Winged Hussars launched an attack which battered the Turkish lines, causing great consternation and forcing the Turkish general to retreat to a more favorable position. Infantry forces continued the fight against the Ottomans.

At six o’clock came the final blow. In the largest cavalry charge in history, King Jan Sobieski launched 18,000 cavalry, led by his 3,000 Winged Hussars, against the Ottoman lines. They clove through the Turks like the proverbial “hot knife through butter,” breaking and scattering them completely and driving them from the field. As the attack crested, the Austrian defenders of Vienna sallied from their city to join in, adding the crowning blow.

The siege of Vienna had been broken, and the decades to follow would see the Muslim Turks driven almost completely out of Christian Europe. After the battle, King Jan III Sobieski (who would receive the title Defensor Fidei – “Defender of the Faith” – from Pope Innocent XI) reportedly announced, in an intentional modification of Julius Caesar’s famous phrase, “Veni, vidi, Deus vicit” — “I came, I saw, God conquered.”

Footnote: the Lithuanians have not been mentioned. That’s because King Jan left his kingdom almost completely undefended, bringing his entire army to the relief of Vienna! As a result, the Hungarians decided to take advantage of the situation and try to take Polish territory. The Lithuanians, also marching toward Vienna, turned aside to counter-attack the Hungarians. They were successful in driving them back, but it meant that the Lithuanian army did not arrive at Vienna until several days after the siege had been broken.

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Sabaton – Winged Hussars (Lyrics English & Deutsch) – YouTube

The Winged Hussars, led – as was the entire relief force sent by the Holy League to lift the siege of Vienna by the Ottoman Turks – by King Jan III Sobieski of Poland, was a relatively small force: 3,000 out of the 18,000 cavalry that swept down the Kahlenburg and through the Turkish lines, shattering and scattering them (they were an even smaller portion of the overall army of the Holy League, which consisted of some 70-80,000 troops, vs approximately 150,000 Ottomans). But they were the point of the spear, the elite heavy cavalry of all Europe at the time.

This historic cavalry charge, the largest in history, served as the inspiration for J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Ride of the Rohirrim,” as the Siege of Vienna served as the inspiration for the Siege of Minas Tirith. More importantly, it also marked the end of Ottoman domination of southeastern Europe, and of the Muslim Turkish attempt to invade the European heartland. Had the battle not ended as it did, the history of Europe, and of the world, might be very different than what we know today. Enjoy this awesome musical tribute to the Winged Hussars, by Sabaton!

“We remember, in September, when the Winged Hussars arrived!”

BOATLIFT, An Untold Tale of 9/11 Resilience | YouTube

Source: BOATLIFT, An Untold Tale of 9/11 Resilience – YouTube

On 9/11, we had our own version of Dunkirk.

In the words of the inestimable Tara Ross, who posted the link to this on her Facebook page,

“Seventeen years ago today….. life as we knew it changed. Have you heard the story of those who escaped from Manhattan by boat?

“When the Coast Guard called for help, hundreds of ferries, private boats, and party boats all leapt into action. Their crews knew they might not come back if New York came under attack again. They went anyway.

“This is the story of the Great Boatlift of 9-11. Get out your Kleenex for this one.”

I remember hearing about this for the first time, a few years ago. It seems to have kind of gotten lost in the general chaos, at the time it happened. But that’s a shame, because this was a truly epic accomplishment. When Tara calls this “the Great Boatlift,” she’s not kidding: it was the largest seaborne evacuation in history. Nearly 500,000 civilians – half a million souls – were rescued from Manhattan by boat… in nine hours.

As Mr. Rogers used to say, “look for the helpers…”

And Tara’s also not kidding about the tissues.

Two Kings and “The Lord of the Rings” [on King Jan Sobieski III and the Lifting of the Siege of Vienna, 1683) | The Imaginative Conservative

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The romanticism in Tolkien’s great saga was inspired partly by the actions of King Jan Sobieski during the Battle of Vienna in 1683, when Christian Europe stemmed the advance of militant Islam… (click the link below to read the full essay by Dwight Longenecker)

Source: Two Kings and “The Lord of the Rings” – The Imaginative Conservative

Although the battle which ultimately lifted the Siege of Vienna – capital of the Holy Roman Empire, and the gateway to Europe – by the Ottoman Turks in 1683 began on the 11th of September, I want to use the date to highlight primarily the tragic, yet also at times heroic, events of 9/11/2001. Nonetheless, because the great battle that saved Europe from domination by the Muslim Turks did begin on this day, I am posting this “teaser” on the event! I’ll post more on it tomorrow.

The author of the article quotes historian and biographer Militiades Varvounis:

“Jan Sobieski was one of the most illustrious rulers ever to command an army. He gained glory and fame in his thirties through his exceptional military skills and he was acknowledged as the greatest warrior-king of his time throughout the rest of his turbulent life. His patriotism, his strong faith and hope in God, his military reputation, his taste for arts and letters, and his talents—all these were legendary in his lifetime. Since World War II, no English work has been published about the king who saved Europe from the warriors of Islam at the Battle of Vienna (1683); a battle which was the inspiration for J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic cavalry charge of the Rohirrim that lifted the Siege of Minas Tirith in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.”

Since my undergraduate, and a great deal of my graduate, studies were focused on the Middle Ages, I was not until fairly recently familiar with this battle, except as a name for an historical event. And so it was not until fairly recently that I came to realize that it was the Siege of Vienna (1683) – not the Siege of Constantinople, as I had originally thought – that served as the inspiration for J.R.R. Tolkien’s Siege of Minas Tirith, and the Ride of the Rohirrim (who, though portrayed as mounted Anglo-Saxons, filled the role of the Polish Winged Hussars which were King Jan Sobieski III’s elite shock troops) which broke it.

Of King Jan of Poland, the original poster of this link had this to say:

“Jan Sobieski was one of the most extraordinary and visionary monarchs of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth from 1674 until his death. He was a man of letters, an artistic person, a dedicated ruler but above all the greatest soldier of his time. Popular among his subjects, he won considerable fame for his decisive victory over the Ottomans at the walls of Vienna (1683). For defeating the Muslim invaders, Pope Innocent XI hailed Sobieski as the saviour of Christendom.”

Indeed! Had not King Jan Sobieski succeeded in lifting the Siege of Vienna, the history of Europe, and indeed the world, would have worked out far differently. The first among equals among our own Founders, George Washington, Father of our Country, frequently credited Divine Providence with intervening in our struggle for independence. I agree, but I also think that one of the chief agents of that intervention was George Washington himself. I think that much the same could be said of Jan Sobieski! But it was not the founding of a new nation that was the goal and the outcome, but the preservation of Christian civilization, and of the West itself.

His story should be known and recounted much more widely, in my opinion!

“Where were you when the world stopped turning, that September day…?” (Alan Jackson)

 

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9/11 – September 11th, 2001

Never forget.

Never.

From a YouTube comment:

“6th grade. Science class. I remember turning to my teacher when he put it on the big screen and asking ‘How long ago did this happen?’ He looked at me with the saddest, terrified look I had ever seen in a 65 year old Vietnam veterans face and said ‘Son, this is happening right now.'” 

I’m not 65, nor am I a Vietnam veteran – or a veteran of any sort; my military service is limited to a year in ROTC and a rather inactive stint with the US Coast Guard Auxiliary – but I, too, was teaching a 6th grade class: at the Carroll County Outdoor School. And I will never forget that, either…

Octave of Prayer for the Defense of the West

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We are approaching the anniversary, later this month, of the Battle of Vienna, 1683, in which the army of the Holy League, lead by King Jan III Sobieski of Poland and his Winged Hussars, broke the siege of the Imperial City by the Ottoman Turks – ending, for several centuries, the Muslim threat to Europe.

It is, perhaps, especially fitting, between now and 12 September (the anniversary of the breaking of the siege) that we pray for the awakening both of the Church and of Europe to the danger posed by Islam to Christianity and the West in this century: an Octave of Prayer for the Defense of the West.

Here is a suggested form which might be used each day between today, September 5th, and the 12th, which comprise eight days, or an octave:

An Octave of Prayer for the Defense of the West

Minister. O God, make speed to save us:

Answer. O Lord, make haste to help us.

Minister. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost;
Answer. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
Minister. Praise ye the Lord.
Answer. The Lord’s Name be praised.

Psalm 2. Quare fremuerunt gentes?

WHY do the heathen so furiously rage together? * and why do the people imagine a vain thing?
2 The kings of the earth stand up, and the rulers take counsel together * against the LORD, and against his Anointed:
3 Let us break their bonds asunder, * and cast away their cords from us.
4 He that dwelleth in heaven shall laugh them to scorn: * the Lord shall have them in derision.
5 Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, * and vex them in his sore displeasure:
6 Yet have I set my King * upon my holy hill of Sion.
7 I will rehearse the decree: * the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.

The Prayers

In Time of War and Tumults.

ALMIGHTY God, the supreme Governor of all things, whose power no creature is able to resist, to whom it belongeth justly to punish sinners, and to be merciful to those who truly repent; Save and deliver us, we humbly beseech thee, from the hands of our enemies; that we, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore from all perils, to glorify thee, who art the only giver of all victory; through the merits of thy Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

In Time of Calamity.

O GOD, merciful and compassionate, who art ever ready to hear the prayers of those who put their trust in thee; Graciously hearken to us who call upon thee, and grant us thy help in this our need; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For Missions.

O GOD, who hast made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on the face of the whole earth, and didst send thy blessed Son to preach peace to them that are far off and to them that are nigh; Grant that all men everywhere may seek after thee and find thee. Bring the nations into thy fold, pour out thy Spirit upon all flesh, and hasten thy kingdom; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For the Conversion of Mohammedans and all who know not Christ.

Let us pray for the conversion of Mohammedans, and all who know not Christ.

V. Let thy way be known upon earth:

R. Thy saving health among all nations.

ALMIGHTY God, our heavenly Father, who in thy goodness hast caused the light of the Gospel to shine in our land: Extend thy mercy, we beseech thee, to the nations of the world that still walk in darkness. Enlighten the Moslems with the knowledge of thy truth; and grant that the Gospel of salvation may be made known in all lands, that the heart of the peoples may be turned unto thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For the Family of Nations.

ALMIGHTY God, our heavenly Father, guide, we beseech thee, the Nations of the world into the way of justice and truth, and establish among them that peace which is the fruit of righteousness, that they may become the Kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

¶ Then may the Litany be said, or at least this portion thereof:

¶ Minister and People.

O Lord, arise, help us, and deliver us for thy Name’s sake.

Minister.

O GOD, we have heard with our ears, and our fathers have declared unto us, the noble works that thou didst in their days, and in the old time before them.

Minister and People.

O Lord, arise, help us, and deliver us for thine honour.

Minister.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost;
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
From our enemies defend us, O Christ.
Graciously look upon our afflictions.
With pity behold the sorrows of our hearts.
Mercifully forgive the sins of thy people.
Favourably with mercy hear our prayers.
O Son of David, have mercy upon us.
Both now and ever vouchsafe to hear us, O Christ.
Graciously hear us, O Christ; graciously hear us, O Lord Christ.

O Lord, let thy mercy be showed upon us;
As we do put our trust in thee.

The Concluding Collect.

O GOD, who knowest us to be set in the midst of so many and great dangers, that by reason of the frailty of our nature we cannot always stand upright; Grant to us such strength and protection, as may support us in all dangers, and carry us through all temptations; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

2 Cor. xiii. 14.

THE grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, be with us all evermore. Amen.


Nota Bene: The prayer “For the Conversion of Mohammedans and all who know not Christ” is taken from The Book of Common Prayer of the Scottish Episcopal Church (1929). The “Concluding Collect” is that appointed for the Fourth Sunday after Epiphany, according to The Book of Common Prayer 1928 (U.S.).

Europe’s Civilizational Exhaustion – Gatestone Institute

Pictured: French police eject some of the 80 migrants and pro-illegal-immigration activists who occupied the Basilica of Saint Denis, on March 18, 2018. (Image source: Video screenshot, YouTube/Kenyan News & Politics)

“In Sweden, by 2050, almost one in three people will be Muslim. The civilizational exhaustion is seen in Europeans’ falling birth rates, mushrooming public debt, chaos in the streets, and a refusal to invest in security. Islam is filling the cultural vacuum of a society with no children and which believes – wrongly – it has no enemies.”

Source: Europe’s Civilizational Exhaustion | Gatestone Institute

  • Islam is filling the cultural vacuum of a society with no children and which believes — wrongly — it has no enemies.
  • In Sweden, by 2050, almost one in three people will be Muslim.
  • The European mainstream mindset now seems to believe that “evil” comes only from our own sins: racism, sexism, elitism, xenophobia, homophobia, the guilt of the heterosexual white Western male — and never from non-European cultures. Europe now postulates an infinite idealization of the “other”, above all the migrant.
  • A tiredness seems to be why these countries do not take meaningful measures to defeat jihadism, such as closing Salafist mosques or expelling radical imams.
  • Muslim extremists understand this advantage: so long as they avoid another enormous massacre like 9/11, they will be able to continue taking away human lives and undermining the West without awakening it from its inertia.

Is this really what we want? Because it’s what we’re going to get, if we don’t – collectively – wake up, and start defending what is valuable: our history, our culture, our heritage.

This essay – which makes for sobering reading, but for that very reason should be read, marked, learned, and inwardly digested by defenders of the West – continues,

Stephen Bullivant, a professor of theology and the sociology of religion at St Mary’s University in London, recently published a report, “Europe’s Young Adults and Religion”:

“Christianity as a default, as a norm, is gone, and probably gone for good – or at least for the next 100 years,” Bullivant said.

According to Bullivant, many young Europeans “will have been baptised and then never darken the door of a church again. Cultural religious identities just aren’t being passed on from parents to children. It just washes straight off them… “And we know the Muslim birthrate is higher than the general population, and they have much higher [religious] retention rates.”

That is a very dangerous and worrying combination – to put it mildly. The situation has gotten so bad that no less a figure than Richard Dawkins, who is as this essay notes is

an atheist and the author of The God Delusion, responded to the study’s release by tweeting to his millions of Twitter followers:

Before we rejoice at the death throes of the relatively benign Christian religion, let’s not forget Hilaire Belloc’s menacing rhyme:

“Always keep a-hold of nurse
For fear of finding something worse.”

Dawkins is apparently concerned that after the demise of Christianity in Europe, there will not be an atheistic utopia, but a rising Islam.

Dawkins’ concern is well-founded. Secularists and atheists of Dawkins’ ilk – not, clearly, Dawkins himself, who though misguided is vastly more intelligent than many of his followers – have been happy enough to use Islam (*) as a foil for Christianity (and I would not be surprised if many have not rejoiced, secretly, in the deaths of Christians in the Middle East and elsewhere), believing that it is doing much of their work for them, and that they can then control and enervate it, too.

This makes about as much sense as trying to chain a dragon to boil a pot of tea. What they fail to realize is that those who passionately believe in something – whether that “something” is truth or falsehood, witness the passionate belief in Communism many still possess, despite its theoretical “defeat” in the 1980s and ’90s – will always have an edge over those who believe in nothing. And unlike the heirs of Western Christendom, Islam is not tired, not exhausted: it has had a rest of some centuries, and has awoken.

It is time, and past time, for us to awaken, too – to awaken to our peril, and to defend ourselves against it. We have a moral responsibility to do so (and as Christians, a religious duty, since Islam is a false religion, and a dangerous ideology): not only for ourselves, but for our ancestors, and for our descendants. So far, we are abjectly failing both. We are betraying our patrimony, by failing to defend it, and pass it on.

What is at stake, here? Let’s look to history: when the Iberian Peninsula fell to the Muslims, it took 700 years to reconquer it – and that was with most of the rest of Europe free. How long will the Reconquista take, if the whole West should fall? None of us will live to see it! But if we fail to wake up, we may live to see that fall.

Again I ask: is this really what we want?

 


• And more generally, multiculturalism and mass immigration, which – far from being a source of strength – weakens and breaks down cultural cohesiveness and integrity, and damages the host culture’s ability to defend itself against attacks both from within and from without. But Islam is the most significant unifying force among many of these immigrants, especially in Europe, and increasingly in the U.S., too.