Wednesday, September 14, 2016

I missed an anniversary: The breaking of the Turkish seige of Vienna, 1683

On September 12th, to be precise.
Even though the Christian army could not get most of its artillery over the mountains and into place, its steady attack and greater numbers proved impossible to withstand. First, the Saxons and Imperial troops attacked from the Kahlenberg heights; then additional Imperial troops advanced on the Ottoman center. The Ottomans launched a counterattack, but in twenty minutes they had been beaten back. Because of deep ravines and other terrain problems, the Poles had been slow to engage, but when they came in on the Christian right, the battle was decided. At about 4 p.m., the various Christian forces advanced on all sides, Sobieski leading his “winged hussars” in what was a decisive charge against the Ottoman cavalry. By late afternoon, the Turkish lines began to waver. A desperate Kara Mustafa led his personal escort into the fray, hoping to withstand the Christian onslaught, but could do no more than rescue the flag of the Prophet.

“We came, we saw, and God conquered,” wrote Sobieski to Pope Innocent XI, echoing Julius Caesar’s famous remark on the conquest of Pontus, in modern Turkey. The siege was ended.

Those Turks who had not been killed or captured fled back toward Belgrade. Kara Mustafa succeeded in taking most of his treasure with him, but it would do him little good. As so often happened to those who had failed the sultan, he was strangled two months later.

1 comment:

Windy Wilson said...

Supposedly the abrupt bugging out by the Turks after the siege resulted in Vienna having the first coffee shops in Christian Europe.

What's a good history of this siege of Vienna to read more about this major event in world history? I think "The Great Siege", by Ernle Bradshaw is a good recounting of that event, but I don't know which histories would be easy to read but fairly thorough for this siege of Vienna and the battle of Lepanto.