1636: The Ottoman Onslaught – Snippet 30

1636: The Ottoman Onslaught – Snippet 30

Chapter 14

Vienna, capital of Austria-Hungary

“So that’s him, huh?” Denise and Minnie studied the Austrian archduke across the room. He was engaged in an animated discussion with another man. “His Royal Highness Damn-My-Balls-Hurt,” Denise continued.

Judy Wendell, the young lady who had been responsible for that emphatic rejection of the archduke’s advances, shook her head. “He’s not that bad a guy, actually. Most of the time, I enjoyed his company well enough. It’s just… You know. Monarchy. I mean, real monarchy, not that show business stuff we had with Queen Elizabeth and Princess Diana and all them back up-time. These guys get raised really weird and it goes to their heads. The girls too, although I don’t think they get as screwy. Women are more sensible than men under pretty much any circumstances.”

Denise and Minnie nodded, indicating their full agreement with that proposition. They then went back to studying the royal person in question. “And he’s a bishop on top of everything else?”

“I’m not actually sure about that,” Judy said. “Everybody refers to him that way, as the prince-bishop of Passau — he’s also the prince-bishop of Halberstadt and Strassburg and Bremen, too, they say.”

“Hey!” Denise protested. “He’s got a lot of nerve. We control Bremen and. Strassburg.”

“That’s not how it works,” Minnie corrected her. She wasn’t exactly what anyone would call a studious girl, but she did pay more attention to what their employer Francisco Nasi explained to them about the political situation in Europe than Denise usually did. “The pope hands out those bishoprics like candy, whether he actually controls them or not. They call it in partibus infidelium, which is a fancy Latin way of saying ‘in the land of the unbelievers.'”

She cocked her head toward Judy. “What did you mean when you said you weren’t sure about that?”

“I’m not sure he’s actually a bishop — the way the church means it. Somebody told me that technically he’s just the administrator of the bishoprics. That way he gets to collect the revenues — from Passau and Halberstadt, at least — but he hasn’t taken any holy vows or anything.”

“As he proved when he tried to stick his tongue down your throat,” snorted Denise.

Judy grinned. “Oh, hell, girl, we’re in the year 1636. The freaking popes in this day and age will try to stick their tongues down your throat.”

“And stick you elsewhere with other parts,” Minnie agreed. She said that with no outrage or indignation; just the way she might have said roses are red, violets are blue. She had the seventeenth century’s pragmatism in full measure. “He’s kind of cute,” she added, still examining the royal fellow across the room.

Denise frowned. “Are you kidding? With that long bony nose and the Habsburg lip?”

The three girls spent a few more seconds in study.

“I gotta say I’m pretty much with Denise on this one, Minnie,” Judy said. “I mean, Leopold’s not ugly or anything, but I’d hardly call him ‘cute.'”

Again, they resumed their critical examination. Archduke Leopold Wilhelm, the brother of the current Austrian emperor, Ferdinand III, was a young man — he’d turned twenty-two a few months earlier — and on the tall, slender side. He had dark and wavy hair parted in the middle of his head, which was long enough to spill over his shoulders. His narrow face was decorated with a Van Dyke beard.

In all fairness, Denise’s accusations were not wide of the mark. The prince did have a long and bony nose and his heavy lower lip could have been put on display in a museum with a caption saying: If you ever wondered what the famous Habsburg lip looked like, this is it.

“Come on,” Judy said, starting across the floor. “I’ll introduce you.”

Even as brash as she was, Denise lagged behind. “You sure? I mean…”

“Relax,” Judy said. “The emperor himself laid down the terms of the peace treaty between me and Leopold. Of course, nobody said anything to me directly. But he’s been on his best behavior ever since and everybody here at court pretends like nothing ever happened. The French call it sang-froid.”

“Cold blood,” Minnie translated. Despite — or perhaps because of — the little formal education she’d received in Grantville’s school system, Minnie spoke several languages quite well. Her wanderings with Benny Pierce had been linguistically fruitful. Minstrels tended to be a migratory bunch.

The parquet floor they were moving across seemed about the size of a basketball court to Denise and Minnie. The chamber — it might be better to call it a reception hall or even a ballroom — was almost entirely devoid of furniture. Down-timers, at least those in the upper classes, were more accustomed than Americans were to spending large amounts of time in social occasions on their feet rather than sitting down.

As if to compensate for the absence of chairs or tables, practically every square inch of the walls — and they were tall, too, since the ceiling was a good twenty feet above the floor — were covered with paintings. The great majority of them were portraits, and the great majority of the portraits seemed to consist of representations of various members of the centuries-old and far-flung Habsburg family.

As they neared Leopold and his companion, the prince spotted them coming and broke off his conversation. When they drew up next to him, his expression was simply one of calm and relaxed attentiveness.

Despite herself, Denise was impressed. Sang-froid indeed!

“Your Serene Highness,” the archduke said politely. Whatever he might have personally thought about his older brother’s decision to elevate all the Barbies to noble status at the end of the previous year, nothing showed but affable courtesy. Of course, the grandiose titles they now held — Denise had to keep herself from spluttering at the idea of Judy Wendell as a “serene highness” — carried a lot less weight than they sounded. It was a court title and didn’t mean you ruled anything.

“May I introduce my companions, Your Royal Highness?” Judy said. After she’d done so, the prince gestured at his companion, a good-looking fellow who appeared to be about thirty years old. “This is Adriaen Brouwer, a Flemish artist who arrived here in Vienna recently. He was recommended to me by my sister Maria Anna.”

Again — and again, despite herself — Denise was impressed. The sister being referred to was now the queen in the Netherlands, having married her Habsburg cousin Fernando less than two years earlier. Fernando was the younger brother of the king of Spain, who was — to put it mildly — less than pleased at Fernando’s presumption in declaring himself “the King in the Netherlands.”

It was easy for up-timers to think lightly of the Habsburgs, with their odd-looking lower lip and their inveterate habit of marrying their own cousins. But if Denise had gotten nothing else from the tutelage of Francisco Nasi, it was that only an imbecile underestimated the Habsburgs.

There were now three separate powerful realms in Europe ruled by Habsburgs — Spain, Austria and the Netherlands — and their monarchs were no farther apart from each other than one degree of separation. King Philip IV of Spain was the older brother of King Fernando I in the Netherlands, who had married Maria Anna, the sister of Ferdinand III, the emperor of Austria-Hungary.

Austria and the Netherlands got along quite well, these days. Spain and the other two… not so much. Like many big and sprawling families, there was a lot of what you could call dysfunctionality involved. Being fair about it, the Habsburgs weren’t nearly as screwed up and dysfunctional as Grantville’s very own Murphy family — as Noelle would be the first to tell you. There was a reason she’d changed her last name to Stull.

There was this difference, though, Denise had to remind herself. When the Murphys fell out with each other, the worst that happened was that Francis Murphy tried to shoot Noelle’s mother Pat at the funeral of Pat’s new-except-he-was-really-old-boyfriend Dennis Stull’s mother because Pat was his ex-wife and she hadn’t paid her respects to Francis’ father after he died. In any case, he missed and the bullet hit the body of old Mrs. Stull so he only got charged with mutilating a corpse.

If the Habsburgs fell out with each other, a good part of Europe would go to war with casualties likely to be in the hundreds of thousands.

****

It would have been hard for Archduke Leopold Wilhelm to have chosen between Judy Wendell and Denise Beasley with regard to which of the two young women was more beautiful. Perhaps for that very reason — reinforced by his still vivid memory of Judy Wendell’s knee coming up to his groin — he found his interest drawn more to the third member of the female trio.

She was quite a contrast. To begin with, Minnie Hugelmair was clearly a product of his own seventeenth century. Leaving aside her accent, quite different from the distinctively American accent of the other two girls, Minnie had any number of subtle behavior traits which made her origins clear in ways that Leopold could not have specified exactly but which were unmistakable.

Except for one trait, now that he thought about it. The girl’s face had been disfigured at some point in her life. Judging from the scar that ran from her hairline down through her left eyebrow, she’d been struck by some sort of object which had destroyed the eye as well. In its place she had a remarkably well-made glass eye which, however, neither moved with her good eye nor had an iris of the same color. Her good eye was hazel; the glass one, blue.

An up-time girl would have been devastated by the loss, not so much due to the practical difficulty of having only one eye but because of the distortion of her appearance. They were odd that way, the Americans. They didn’t hesitate to spout the most outlandish opinions and comport themselves in sometimes exotic forms of behavior. But any deviation from what they considered proper bodily standards was viewed with unease, sometimes verging on horror. That seemed to be especially true of the women, from what he’d been told and what he’d seen himself.

 

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39 Responses to 1636: The Ottoman Onslaught – Snippet 30

  1. dave o says:

    The last date I have seen is May, 1636. If the Turks are coming, where are they?

    • Anonymouse says:

      The storm is slowly gathering, very slowly.

      • Bret Hooper says:

        The Ottoman Onslaught is coming, and they will capture Vienna and at least most of Austria. Will Ferd the Third and his family be captured by the Ottomen, or will there be a successful Austrian Offslaught, and if so, where to?

        I would guess either to the USE or thru the USE to the Netherlands. Anyone else care to make a guess?

        • Cobbler says:

          Bavaria.

          Once Mad Max is gone, it’s the best place to stage a counter attack.

          • cka2nd says:

            Hungary, assuming that half of the empire is not lost.

          • Bret Hooper says:

            @Cobbler: There may be fighting in Bavaria then, or Bavaria may by then be a province of USE. In either case Bavaria may not be “the best place to stage a counter attack.” If so, what then?

            • Cobbler says:

              @Cobbler: There may be fighting in Bavaria then, or Bavaria may by then be a province of USE. In either case Bavaria may not be “the best place to stage a counter attack.” If so, what then?

              Even if Gustav annexes Bavaria, he is still better off with Austria/Hungary as a neighbor than an expansionist Ottoman Empire. Supporting Ferdinand’s counterattack is realpolitik.

              If the fighting is still going on, it is realpolitik for Ferdinand’s troops to help the Third Division to settle the issue quickly so their united forces can head for Vienna.

              • Bret Hooper says:

                @Cobbler: Good points. But if the fighting is still going on, Austrians entering Bavaria are risking ‘friendly’ fire, possibly from either side. And if Bavaria has been pacified and become a province of USE, then my original alternative of escaping into (or thru) USE applies.

        • Andy says:

          I don’t think the Ottomans’ victory over Vienna is a foregone conclusion.

          • Tweeky says:

            As has been pointed out the Ottomans will take Vienna but the question is will they be able to hold it? I don’t think so and in the long term I think that they will badly over-extend themselves and suffer serious damage with perhaps Ferdinand be able to start rolling back the Ottomans European posessions centuries early as he stated in an earlier story to Janos his long term goal is to expel them from Europe and liberate Constantinople.

          • Bret Hooper says:

            @Andy: I believe we have already been told that the Ottomen will take Vienna, albeit Tweeky may well be right that they won’t hold it very long. But even in they manage to hold it only for a few days, Ferd the Third and his family will be better off for those few days if they are in USE, perhaps on their way to Antwerp, rather than in Vienna.

      • Cobbler says:

        The grass is always greener on the invasion route. Or the horses die and the invasion fails.

        The Turks can’t even start their march until spring pushes up enough grass to feed their equine hoards. Bovine, too, if they are using oxen. Oxen are slow, but so is an army on the march.

        The Ottoman Turks are not the steppe roaming, fast moving, Mongol-style light cavalry they used to be.

        • Lyttenburgh says:

          “The Ottoman Turks are not the steppe roaming, fast moving, Mongol-style light cavalry they used to be.”

          They never were, really.

          • Cobbler says:

            I’m willing to be instructed. I’ve got this:

            “The Ghuzz or Turkmens also known as Oguzes (a linguistic term designating the Western Turkic or Oghuz languages from the Oghur sub-division of Turkic language family) were a historical Turkic tribal confederation conventionally named the Oghuz Yabgu State in Central Asia during the early medieval period. The name Oguz is a Common Turkic word for “tribe”. The Oguz confederation migrated westward from the Jeti-su area after a conflict with the Karluk branch of Uigurs. The founders of the Ottoman Empire were descendants of the Oguz Yabgu State…”

            “The Oghuz seem to have been related to the Pechenegs, some of whom were clean-shaven and others of whom had small ‘goatee’ beards. According to the book Attila and the Nomad Hordes, “Like the Kimaks they set up many carved wooden funerary statues surrounded by simple stone balbal monoliths.”[7] The authors of the book go on to note that “Those Uzes or Torks who settled along the Russian frontier were gradually Slavicized, though they also played a leading role as cavalry in 1100- and early 1200-era Russian armies, where they were known as Black Hats….”

            “The Ottoman dynasty, who gradually took over Anatolia after the fall of the Seljuks, toward the end of the 13th century, led an army that was also predominantly Oghuz.”

            For all of me, if the Oghuz were cavalry on the Sea of Grass, they must have been fast moving light cavalry in the Mongol style.

            • Lyttenburgh says:

              “For all of me, if the Oghuz were cavalry on the Sea of Grass, they must have been fast moving light cavalry in the Mongol style.”

              This is historically incorrect oversimplification, as if various types of the nomad societies are “same” just be the virtue that they were “nomad”.

              • Cobbler says:

                I’m not talking about the shape of their culture. I’m talking about the nature of cavalry in a given environment.

                Wiki says they did serve as cavalry: “Those Uzes or Torks who settled along the Russian frontier were gradually Slavicized, though they also played a leading role as cavalry in 1100- and early 1200-era Russian armies, where they were known as Black Hats….”

                Is there some other style of cavalry, suited to that territory, of which I’m not aware?

              • Lyttenburgh says:

                “Is there some other style of cavalry, suited to that territory, of which I’m not aware?”

                Yes. A combination of light/med/heavy elements was unique for every steppe nomads society. E.g. Tatars of the Golden Horde by 14 c. had completely abandoned any heavy elements. Turks, on the contrary, had been always maintaining some heavy elements (spahi) among their cavalry units, and it only increased when they became an empire.

                There are sources – like, real historical sourece – beyond the Holy Wikipedia, you know. Try studying them. Barring that – buy a book by Osprey.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      There are 2 examples from the OTL history – 1529 and 1683 campaigns.

      A) 1529 campaign. Conservative estimate puts the number of troops to c. 120 000. The offensive had been launched from Bulgaria on on 10 May 1529. Army marched veeeeeery slowly, and had first engagements with the enemy only by late August. The siege of Vienna bagan on 27 September and lasted less than a month.

      2) 1683 campaign. Forward elemenets began marching towards Vienna on 1 April from Ediene and Rumelia. Together with vassals and press-ganged laborers there were c. 170 000. They were at Vienna’s walls by 14 July. Siege lasted till the epic Battle of Vienna on 12 September.

      How will things develop this time? It’s a safe bet that the Ottoman army is already on the move – probably we are having this one A-H chapter solely for providing us with a glimpse at what happens at the Imperial court after the news about this reach them. The Ottoman army would be at least 100 000 strong – about 25% of them press-ganged peasants and laboirers from the Balkans and vassal states to see for the needs of the proper soldiers and to be emproyed in construction. Additionally, Crimean Khan would send 30-50 000 (loot and slaves, d’uh!), and various vassals could probably mustr 8-12 000.

      This humongous horde will reach Vienna in about 3 months.

      • laclongquan says:

        Spring Grass condition is spring grass condition. Their army still rely on animals to move supplies, so they still need new spring grass in order to move.
        And 163s is in Mini Ice Age, ie long cold, late spring.
        I think it’s more likely to be 1529 model than 1683. May, not April.

  2. dave o says:

    Previous text suggests that at least part of the Ottoman army starts from Belgrade. The modern road distance from B to Budapest to Vienna is about 4oo miles. On the way they must pass the fortress of Gyor, and possibly also Komaron. While shorter routes seem possible they pass by Lake Balaton and the Neuseidler See, both surrounded by extensive swampy areas. The supply situation on the way West is manageable, whatever is left in Hungary can be rafted down the Danube, and if there is enough grass for forage, the army can probably move at the rate of 10 – 12 miles a day. Which means if they started toward the end of April, that they can arrive at Vienna by early in June. Once they have arrived at Vienna, they will have to supply themselves mostly by foraging locally in a mediocre agricultural area. They have the rest of June, July, August, September and maybe the first weeks of October to capture the city. At that point most of the army has to retreat or starve.

  3. Lyttenburgh says:

    “Which means if they started toward the end of April, that they can arrive at Vienna by early in June”

    Too optimistic estimate. If the army had to gather at Balegrade it only means waiting more time for all other forces gathering here, on the endge of empire, before launching the attack.

    Next – there is possibility (although – very slight) that border fortresses could slow down this behemoth a little bit.

    In my extimate – if we won’t hear the news about the Ottoman army’s movement in this chapter, then the whole campaign would be launched by mid May and the forward elements of the invasion force (e.g. – tatars) could reach Vienna by July.

    • dave o says:

      Some is not the same as all. No matter where the Turks start from the only really practical route is following the Danube. Ar least for infantry. Cossacks or Tatars perhaps not.

      • Lyttenburgh says:

        Cossaks? In this time they *were* infrantry. It’s a stereotype that all of them were “born” in the saddel. No, in 17 c. they are still mostly just runaway serfs with little experience in warfare. And their participation in Turkish wars had been always minimal. Occasionally joining ofrces with the Tatars to pwn PLC – that’s a different matter.

        • Cobbler says:

          Not in this timeline. In The Eastern Front, Mike told David Bartley they couldn’t depend on Tack Rail because “Konieckpoleci’s got several thousand Cossacks under his command. They’re probably the best mounted raiders is Eurasia…”

          • Lyttenburgh says:

            ““Konieckpoleci’s got several thousand Cossacks under his command. They’re probably the best mounted raiders is Eurasia…””

            Than we must assume one of 3 things:

            1) Konieckpoleci has under his command the entire/a good part of the rejestr of “sanctioned” Zaporozhiyan cossak host, who were provided with arms, ammo, money and fodder for their horse by the Polish crown and who alone had the time to develop their cavalry fighting skills. Given that the book also claims that Konieckpoleci decided to significantly beef up his army with “unsanctioned” cossacks of dubious quality (in all regards) that’s clearly not the case.

            2) Mike has no idea he is talking about. He has his up-timer american stereotypes about the cossacks being light cavalry second to none – which is not the case in the here and now of the 17 c.

            3) Eric Flint has no idea what he is talking about – and has no one to correct his misconceptions.

            Use your logic. You are a peasant. Serf, to be exactly. You have to spend 90% of your time toiling the land simply for your own survival. One day, you decide to gtfo from this life and – somehow – miraclously escape to the Sich. What, would it make you an epic-level cavalry warrior, on par with the Tatars (who were learning to ride and fight mounted since childhood) or various noble cavalry units from the PLC (key word here – noble)? No, not in a lifetime. You will be issued a pike and all sorts of abuse more “settled” (but probably still “unsacationed”) cossaks could imagine at the moment and then told to stay in line and die fighting. Your reward – everything you can loot afterwards. If you – somehow – survive enough battles, well, maybe there will be more respect for you. But no one will give you, former serf, a horse at the Day One and train you to become a living terror of the battlefield.

            • dave o says:

              Wikipedua: From 14th century on, Polish and Russia used Cossacks as MOBILE guards against Tatar raids.

              Logic is wonderful even when it conflicts with reality. It is true that escaped serfs became Cossacks, but only because Cossacks already existed.

              • Lyttenburgh says:

                Wikipedia is a new Holy Writ, amirite? And damn all heretics who dare to actually study history and know anything besides it?

                M’kay, for those who consider it infalliable – please, where does it state that they were superb cavalrymen. Also, while we are at it – why the hell would cossacks participate in Vienna’s siege in the first place.

                “From 14th century on, Polish and Russia used Cossacks as MOBILE guards against Tatar raids. “

                Unsourced sentence that means exactly nothing. Mobility can mean anything. The very same article meantions Zaporozhian Host high mobility thanks to the use of quick boats – chaikas. Which makes them mobile *infantry*.

            • Bjorn Hasseler says:

              1) Clearly is the case:

              “So, whenever he went on campaign, Koniecpolski had no trouble gaining the adherence of several thousand registered Cossacks—no small accomplishment, given that there were not all that many to begin with. Many of them were no doubt unregistered, of course. In time of war, the atamans would usually look the other way if their ranks were partially filled with Cossacks from the various independent hosts who had no legal standing in the Commonwealth.” _1635: The Eastern Front_, Chapter 37

              • dave o says:

                It is implausible that Cossacks could serve as mobile border guards as infantry carried by boats given that the great rivers flow mostly south and many tributaries are too small or too swampy to carry the boats. However if a source is sited, I will believe it.

              • Cobbler says:

                “Unsourced sentence that means exactly nothing.”

                So true. As the unsourced saying goes, “Assertion is not argument.”

                I’m not going to count the unsourced assertions Lyttenburgh has made in his comments on this single snippet.

                I’m too busy worshipping Wikipedia.

              • Lyttenburgh says:

                2dave o

                “It is implausible that Cossacks could serve as mobile border guards as infantry carried by boats given that the great rivers flow mostly south and many tributaries are too small or too swampy to carry the boats. However if a source is sited, I will believe it.”

                You are so blindingly trust Wikipedia, tsk.

                Most of the time border (steppe border, to be precise) fortress were manned by a mix of regulars, merc and rejestr cossaks. Rejestr cossacks were the monority of dubuious loyalty. Besides them there were “free-lancers” of the Sich – a vast majority of what is now known as cossacks. They were not officially employed by the crown. They could decide to raid Crimea… or Moldavia… or Russia… or PLC itself. That’s who are we are talking about. Most of them were former peasants of townfolks with no (N-O) lifetime experience of mounted combat. For all intends and purposes they were infantry.

                2Cobbler.

                “So true. As the unsourced saying goes, “Assertion is not argument.”

                I’m not going to count the unsourced assertions Lyttenburgh has made in his comments on this single snippet. “

                Please, go ahead and provide me with a list of my “unsupported claims”. I will answer then.

                So far you, Cobbler – clearly not a historian – is too busy appealing to authority: first to E. Flint’s possibly erroneus words about cossaks, next to such no-source as Wikipedia.

                And now, think about this particular “butterfly effect”. In this NTL there were no Smolensk war. Therefore, there was no new legislation to increase the rejestr of sanctioned cossacks, who did not participate en masse in that war (in OTL there were as many as 60 000 of them). So, the old Pereyaslav treaty is still in effect – 6 regiments, or 6000 cossacks of the official rejestr. So – no increase to 7000, let alone to 30 000. True, there remained the “reserve” of non-rejestr cossacks who, in theory, could be mobilized. But in the meantime they were on their own and had to invent means to feed and support themselves by all means possible. They could not be realistically considered “regular” or “professional” troops, with enough will or time to spare for training.

              • Cobbler says:

                2 Lyttenburgh

                No, I’m not a historian. I don’t claim to be. On the other hand, I was reading Toynbee before I could shave. I can’t remember how many books on various aspects of history I’ve read since then. Nor how many books I’ve read on archaeology, physics, psychology, evolution, mythology, neurology, anthropology, philosophy, geology, religion, oceanography, cultural interchanges, …there are more but never mind.

                I’m quite aware that in any of those subjects, an expert could stump me without breaking a sweat. It comes with the territory. That doesn’t mean I like the feeling of being treated with contempt. You may or may not intend that. When you suggesting that I should read a real history book instead of just Wikipedia, that’s how it comes across. I use Wiki because it’s convenient and—except for those areas that have been hijacked—fairly reliable. Also because most of the books I have read are gone with the wind.

                I started one of our interchanges by saying, “I’m willing to be instructed.” Your entire reply was:

                “This is historically incorrect oversimplification, as if various types of the nomad societies are “same” just be the virtue that they were “nomad”.”

                There’s an unsupported assertion for you. You needn’t justify it. The basic point is obvious. But don’t claim that, by telling me different cultures can use the same technology, you gave me any useful education.

                When dave o quoted “From 14th century on, Polish and Russia used Cossacks as MOBILE guards against Tatar raids. “

                You said, “Unsourced sentence that means exactly nothing”

                What I felt was, “This isn’t an entertaining debater. This is arrogance on parade.” That may be besmirching you, your intentions, your expertise. Or not, who can tell? I got snippy anyway.

  4. Steve Z says:

    I haven’t read but has anyone heard when or if an eARC will be available?

  5. Zak Reyerson says:

    Coffee is being consumed in Magdebug.

    As far as I can remember there has been no mention of Bagels !

    Real Big Grin

    • stewart says:

      The Bagels are being made / introduced in Bohemia by the Roth’s.
      Expect to see CoC franchise Coffee and Bagel shops throughout Bohemia, A-H, PLC and Tsarist Russia (matching Grin)

  6. Lyttenburgh says:

    Okay, specially for Cobbler and dave o – and for all other doubting types, who’d rather believe in easily editable Wikipedia (praised be!) than me.

    Even if you are trusting Wikipedia (praised be!) and using it as the basis for your argument, you are doing it in a bad fait, if, say, you deliberately choose certain quotes over other, that do not fit into your narrative. No need to repeat the un-sourced one about 14 c. and all that jazz. Better look up the one that in late 16. – early 17 c. the number of escaped serfs in the Cossack ranks swelled manifold. To what degree? According to the Zborov treaty of 1649 rejestr was increased to 40 477, but the number of Cossacks of szlachta background among them (yep, there were quite a number of them – like Khmelnitsky) numbered only 5000. That’s 12% of the total rejestr, and the actual army of Khmielnistki was even bigger than that. So, who were the rest? Well, clearly not the people who belonged to the class of the professional warriors.

    But if you still don’t trust me – fine! Will you trust some books? Osprey publishing has 2 books (Polish Armies 1569–1696 in 2 volumes) on PLC armies in 16-17 cc. There in volume 2, pg. 24, you will read that despite commonly held misconception Cossacks in 17 c did not fight mounted – they used horses only as transport, then dismounted and fought on foot (Well, if he had one – after all, the emblem of the Zaporozhian Sich was a Cossack with a musket – on foot). More on Cossacks is in the same volume, starting from pg. 31.

    https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/58/f6/96/58f6961a61744caf2f6d190ff581461f.jpg

    ^Cossacks by Angus McBride

    OTOH, Cossacks made a great use of their long – up to 60 feet long – boats to patrol the Dnieper or to stage raids as far as Istanbul. Famous de Beauplan left a lot of notes and sketches of Ukraine and Cossacks (btw – will he appear in this book?) during his employment as fortifications engineer by the Crown in 1630s-40s.

    Osprey also has books about the Ottoman Turks and Mongols, where they describe the differences in their military organization, style of warfare and equipment.

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