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Questions About the Reformation of the Husaria under Sobieski and Poland's Husaria

20 Feb 2015 #1
Pertaining to the time between around 1670 up until the Battle of Vienna. It was widely known that the Husaria was the favorite of Sobieski and arguably an extension of his deep patriotism of Poland. Much of what I have read mentions the steps Sobieski took in reforming the Polish army, namely the reforms he made to the artillery units to gear them for supporting the Hussars in combat to compensate for the weaknesses that had been exposed against the firepower of the Swedish that ultimately contributed to the decline of the Hussars.

I was wondering if there were any out there who knew more specifics on the steps Sobieski took beyond what I have mentioned. Are there known events that happened where Sobieski took measures to promote the military reformation? More specifically rebuilding the Hussars? Times where that was his point of emphasis? Did he ever organize tournaments or training sessions? Basically what were the public steps taken by Sobieski, if any, to stress the importance of returning the Hussars to former glory.

Secondly, I know the Hussars had a long training period and had to rise through the ranks before becoming bonafide Hussars. And that by this time it was more a title for decoration that nobles used, and often the Lieutenants were left to run the units. But did they have any ceremony? Like a knighting? Or a ritual which signified rising to the higher ranks?

Thanks in advance for the help.
Ziemowit 13 | 4,227
20 Feb 2015 #2
Those are very detailed questions and I doubt if anyone on the PF will ever be able to address them. If you read Polish, you may well try to find something by googling "husaria", "historia", "jan iii sobieski". This book I have found seems to be in English:

A. Wasilkowska, Husaria. The Winged Horsemen, Warszawa 1998
Looker - | 1,054
20 Feb 2015 #3
I will add another interesting links: (in English) (very good material in Polish)
Crow 139 | 8,393
20 Feb 2015 #4
First riders of Winged cavalry that latter turn to be Husaria were Serbian Winged Gusari (Eng. winged bandits, pirates). Among them were then recruited first military commanders and masters of cavalry martial arts for further training. That`s how Husaria was born in Poland and in Hungary, too. Some of those first Winged riders retreated to Poland from declining Serbian Empire because of Ottoman Turkish invasion. There were complete Serbian military regiments. Later, when Serbian Despotate was formed, considering that was Rascia (central Serbian medieval land) part of the realm of the Polish Kings, Serbs respected obligations and regiments of Winged cavalry were regularly officially dispatch to Poland.

Jan Sobieski played great role in the process of massive arrival of Serbians to Poland. That way he most directly contributed to consolidation of Polish cavalry doctrine. Sobieski salvaged best from collapsing Serbian Empire. In his time Sobieski was Grand Master of the Dragon Order, noble order that was originally founded by Serbian Voivode of Knights Milos Obilic in attempt to resist to Ottoman invasion. In Kosovo battle, 1389 Turks vs. Serbs, Dragon Order acomplished one of its main aims and that was elimination of the Turkish Sultan Murad who was killed in battle by the Obilic himself who was then also slain by Sultan`s axe bearing bodyguards.

One of the major roles of the Serbs in Polish service was during Orsha battle, 1514, Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Kingdom of Poland, under the command of Hetman Konstanty Ostrogski vs. army of the Grand Duchy of Moscow under Konyushy Ivan Chelyadnin and Kniaz Mikhail Golitsin. Konstanty Ostrogski relied on Serbian husars as his trump card and won. There, Serbians once more proved themselves as the military elite of rising Sarmatian Commonwealth.


Orsha battle, 1514
OP DeathorFreedom
20 Feb 2015 #5
Would love to know more on that Dragon Order... I have read that he was raised by an elite fraternity of nobles that were hyper sensitive to the Ottoman Empire and sought to crusade against them. But I didn't know it had a name nor did I know Sobieski was a Grand Master. This is important because it gets to the bottom of the internal strife afflicting the Commonwealth at the time. The senate and citizens were exhausted from years of terrible warfare. And Sobieski found it incredibly difficult to get funding for his campaigns. There seemed to be a large disconnect between the two sides. One focusing more on rebuilding Poland instead of actively seeking war. And the other dead set on removing the threat from existence entirely. It would make more sense that he was part of a order like that because Sobieski was such a devout patriot that I found it difficult to understand why he continually pressed for war instead of rebuilding his country first.

Another question... what was the public opinion of the immigration of Serbs into Poland at the time? Was it met with protest when Sobieski headed up this massive influx of Serbians? Were they considered a lesser group of people?
21 Feb 2015 #6
I have never heard about "massive" immigration of Serbian warriors to Poland. In fact, they came to the Commonwealth to fight against the Turks with us but I guess there weren't so many of them... I think that if it was a big number we would learn about it at history lessons. Even if such an immigration happened, it is possible that it wasn't a problem for us back then. The Commonwealth already consisted of a few European nations. As a Polish, I like the Serbs because they are our Slavic brothers and sisters :) And of course, everyone who fought against the Islamic invasion of Europe was great, haha :)
Vox - | 175
21 Feb 2015 #7
crow would you like to stop misinforming general readers on this forum about Polish history. A light mercenary cavalry which included Serbian elements as mercenaries has very little do to with the winged hussars of Polish Kingdom.
Crow 139 | 8,393
21 Feb 2015 #8
i see that some people here don`t know for the Serbian role in Polish history, in life of one Sobieski and particularly in formation of Polish Husaria. Obviously, education in communist, as well as in post-communist Poland failed. As if communist and post-communist regimes in Poland agree at least in one thing, that is in what should be or should not be object of study and learning in Poland.

Well, what can we do. You can always go and consult some Polish online encyclopedia or just google about it.
22 Feb 2015 #9
Well, Crow, I think that you are exaggerating. This is true that the "progenitors" of Polish Hussars were Serbian Gusaris but it doesn't mean that our type of hussars were the same as yours. We consider Stefan Batory as the main maker of our hussars. He was the one who introduced specific divisions and equipped them with better (heavier) weapons. Seriously, Serbs didn't have much involvement in Polish history.

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