Military Review

Underestimated bald


Against the background of the far from heroic behavior of the Czechs in World War II, quite unexpectedly it looks like their ancestors were once dashing warriors. In the first half of the 15th century, they did not beat the Germans, Hungarians, Austrians, Poles, and made long-range raids, reaching even the Baltic coast. One of the most glorious battles of the then Czech army took place exactly 590 years ago, 16 June 1426, near the city, which the Germans call Aussig, and the Czechs - Usti nad Labem.

In 1423, the Saxon margrave Friedrich captured this frontier Czech town, a significant part of whose population were Germans, but after three years the Czechs decided to repel it. The Czech army under the command of Prokop Lysy (he was Prokop the Great) approached Aussig in spring and surrounded the city. Margrave began to gather troops for the release of his possession. And here the pope proclaimed another crusade against the Hussites, followers of the priest Jan Hus, burned for heresy, whom the Czechs considered their spiritual teacher, very appropriately for the margrave and inappropriate for the Czechs.

Among the German chivalry there were many who wished to take part in this charitable work, and at the same time to slightly rob the neighbors. Under the banner of Frederick, several thousand knights from different lands fell, and with the account of armed servants and mercenaries, the total number of his troops quickly reached 13 thousand people. Czech chronicles claim that there were 75 thousands of enemies, and the most zealous chroniclers bring their number right up to 100 thousands, but this is common in mythological medieval historiography.

Prokop had about 11 of thousands of infantrymen and cavalrymen, but his main trump card was powerful artillery, which, again, according to local chroniclers, was made of 180 cannons. True, most modern historians believe that this figure is also greatly overestimated, or the hand-held arquebuses, which the Czechs called hackewitches, were counted on a par with the guns. In addition, in the Czech army there were several hundred battle wagons, of which they were able to make fast-built field fortifications - wagenburg.

The knightly cavalry, armed with swords and spears, had already broken its teeth about these fortifications. Nevertheless, the margrave decided to attack, relying on the high combat proficiency of his men, on their robust armor and on the “special means” against the wagenburg - heavy war hammers. Moreover, he hoped that the recent death from the plague of the charismatic leader of the Hussites and the talented commander Jan Жižka had demoralized the enemy and that the Czechs could hardly find a worthy replacement for him.

However, Prokop the Bald was no less capable commander. Learning about the approach of the enemy troops, he placed his army on top of a large hill, surrounding it with a ring of carts fastened with chains. There were cannons between the wagons, and in the wagons themselves, behind high oak shields with triangular loopholes, the crossbowmen and arrows from the hackewits took up the position.

The Germans attacked on foot. Although the cannonballs and heavy archebouz bullets had thinned their ranks, the Crusaders reached Wagenburg and began smashing wagons with hammers, as well as the chains connecting them. In one place they managed to break through a wide passage, having broken several vans. The patrons broke through behind the fence, but there was a surprise waiting for them - the second wall made up of high stationary shields - Paves, behind which the arrows also hid. The knights were between two fires, as crossbows and hacks were kept shooting at them from behind surviving carts.

Bearing heavy losses, the Crusaders could not cut through the Pavezes, since behind them, apart from the shooters, there were also spearmen. Soon the knights panicked and rushed back into the passage. And then, at the command, the Pawezes immediately lay down on the ground, the soldiers parted, and the Czech cavalry, headed by Prokop himself, flew out from behind them. Riders long pursued enemies who were hard to run in armor, leaving them no chance for salvation.

The rout was complete. The battle killed at least four thousand crusaders, including about 500 noble knights. The listing of their names and titles takes several pages in German annals. Among the dead were the counts Heinrich von Meissen, Oswald von Kirchberg, Ernst von Manstein, Friedrich von Beilichengen, Ernst von Gleichen, Dietrich von Witzleben, and many other respected people. The Czechs got this victory at the price of just 30 killed and dead from injuries.

After repulsing the crusaders, the soldiers of Prokop after a while stormed Aussig and, in retaliation for stubborn resistance, completely looted it, making no difference between German and Czech houses. Then the Hussites launched a counterattack and invaded Saxony, however, this is another история.

On the screen saver - the Czechs defend Wagenburg. In the center is a swordsman and a hakovnitsa gunner, hiding behind paveza. Picture by Magnus McBride.

On the left is the Hussite battle carriage, which could be used as a separate mobile fortification and as a fragment of a wagenburg. On the right is a fight between a knight and the calculation of a hand made arquebus.

Czech soldiers of the beginning of the XV century, on the right - Prokop the Bald and the Hussite banners.

Another drawing of McBride, which depicts the main opponents of the Hussites - the German knights.

Czechs inspect the field Aussiga battle. Figure Czech artist of the XIX century Miklos Alesha.

Modern reconstruction of Hussite hakovnits.

Underestimated bald

Czech or German breech-loading gun of the XV century.
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  1. Lester7777
    Lester7777 19 June 2016 06: 16
    Czechs drove the Crusaders in the tail and mane more than once or twice. And before the battle, Lipan still had eight years left ...

    Thank you, an interesting article.
  2. Aleksandr72
    Aleksandr72 19 June 2016 07: 26
    In general, the Czech infantry in the Middle Ages was considered one of the best in Europe, along with the Germans and later Swiss.
    However, all the hopes of the Czechs for the creation of their own independent state, for freedom of religion (which for the Middle Ages meant very, very much) collapsed after the defeat of the Czech army (which was actually Protestant and multinational in its ranks, not only the Czechs, but also the Germans, Hungarians ) in the battle of the White Mountain on November 8, 1620. The number of troops was approximately the same, but the Catholic army was much better organized and prepared for the battle, in the Czech (more precisely Bohemian) Protestant army, there was an excess of moral disposition for the battle, all other components necessary for victory were completely absent.
    On November 8, 1620, immediately after noon, the Elector of Bavaria, Maximilian (commanded the combined army of the Catholic League and the Holy Roman Empire), ordered his army to attack the enemy. Here is how the further course of the battle is described in the “History of the Kingdom of Bohemia” written in the 6th century by Vaclav Vladive Tomek: “Anhalt ordered the cannon to be fired, but did not cause much harm to the enemy. He hit the Czech right flank and captured several guns. But this attack was repelled by the younger Anhalt. At the same time, on the left flank, eight thousand Hungarian horsemen, sent to help from the Transylvanian prince Betlen, took Maximilian's cavalry to flight. But immediately other riders were sent to help those who retreated before the younger Anhalt, while the Hungarians, after their success, were carried away by robbery. Anhalt sent Prince Hogenloe's cavalry to help them, but she retreated during the first encounter, and the Hungarians also fled after her, and some of the infantry also fled after them - the Motolskaya valley to Vltava itself near Smikhov, where some jumped into the water and drowned. After this followed the defeat of the others who still fought on the mountain ... The Moravans defended for the longest time under the leadership of Prince Turn and Indřich Schlick. They fought to the last and finally almost all died or were taken prisoner. The battlefield was covered with XNUMX thousand dead bodies. The camp of the Czechs was occupied by the enemy. ”
    The problem of the losers was not that the battle on White Mountain turned into a disaster, but that after it the will of the rebellious Czech estates to resist evaporated. The camp of the rebels was torn apart by contradictions, the "winter king" Friedrich (Elector of the Palatinates, who ruled the Czech Republic "one winter") did not show himself to be a good politician, nor a military leader, nor a diplomat, able to find support abroad, and soon fled the country. The victorious imperial party launched a campaign of repression. On June 21, 1621, on the Old Town Square in Prague, 27 leaders of the uprising were executed - noble nobles and townspeople, Czechs and Germans. Although Ferdinand II later announced an amnesty to the former rebels, the confiscation of their property continued - according to historians, up to three-quarters of all noble estates in the kingdom changed owners.
    1. Riv
      Riv 19 June 2016 08: 11
      Not everything was simple there. The thing is, Hussites are the common name of Czech Protestants. Their radical wing, the taborites, were a rather creepy company. Among their ideas are community of property, and the complete destruction of Catholicism along with Catholics and (don’t laugh, Karl!) The right to go naked. Taborites have long been the main military force of the Czech Republic at that time, and the rifle, as you know, gives rise to power.

      The crusades against the Hussites were not a whim of the Pope, but a dire necessity. The fact is that the Taborites began to bring the light of their faith to neighboring countries. The same creeping expansion. Wagenburg approached some city ("I drive as I want, I get up where I need to.") And local Catholics began to actively agitate to accept Protestantism. Most often with a flail on the head. The property was privatized. Those who could not resist and went over to the Hussites replenished the Wagenburg garrison. Local authorities could not oppose such raids, so the Pope had to organize feudal lords and kings.

      And when they sorted out the taborites, the moderate wing of the Hussites - cups - came to the fore. Another crusade was organized against the Czechs (more likely by inertia) and it all ended in peaceful coexistence of the Protestant and Catholic denominations in the Czech Republic.
      1. sivuch
        sivuch 19 June 2016 09: 21
        Here I agree, God forbid, to get caught by this company alive. They will burn it after sophisticated torture. But walking naked, in my opinion, is some other Czech sect, and the taborites didn’t stand on ceremony either.
        yes, and for some reason all the knights with the bacinets. NEP, in the 15th century there were already salads
    2. Cartalon
      Cartalon 19 June 2016 08: 16
      I did not study the issue in great detail, but it seems to me that the Czechs did not really consider themselves a separate nation, and being in the Holy Roman Empire suited them with a question about certain rights.
    3. bandabas
      bandabas 19 June 2016 22: 28
      I do not argue. But immediately the question. Are the rest worse?
  3. Razvedka_Boem
    Razvedka_Boem 19 June 2016 07: 44
    Great illustrations. You can consider the pictures for quite some time, since everything is drawn in sufficient detail.
  4. parusnik
    parusnik 19 June 2016 07: 54
    Prokop Lysy, if translated from Czech, as well as Prokop Naked, is also known as Prokop the Great, a radical Hussite leader, politician and military leader. Since 1426 - the main ideologist and politician of the taborites. He died in the battle of Lipan.
    1. Nagaibak
      Nagaibak 19 June 2016 20: 15
      parusnik "Prokop the Bald, if translated from Czech, and so Prokop the Naked, is also known as Prokop the Great, a radical Hussite leader, politician and military leader. Since 1426 he has been the main ideologist and politician of the Taborites. He died in the Battle of Lipan."
      There was also Prokop Small)))
      1. parusnik
        parusnik 19 June 2016 21: 14
        Was ... Also Lipan died ..
  5. overb
    overb 19 June 2016 08: 28
    Quote: Vyacheslav Kondratiev
    Against the background of the far from heroic behavior of the Czechs in World War II, it is rather unexpected that their ancestors were once dashing warriors.

    The author confuses dashing warrior with deb *** ami. Yes, the Czechs were dashing warriors (you can recall the Czech rebellion during the Civil War). But deb *** they were not. They had no opportunity to fight the Germans, Poles, Hungarians and Slovaks. Therefore, they did not fight.
    1. VeryBravePiggy
      VeryBravePiggy 19 June 2016 08: 56
      The Czechs did not fight against the Germans in World War II because a significant part of them sympathized with the cute Adik, and hated the USSR, the communists and the Russians (also thanks to the deceitful bourgeois press). The Czechs were not threatened with genocide, the Czechs were not robbed or burned to intimidate entire villages ... And the Czechs, including therefore, did not offer any serious resistance to the Nazi occupiers. And they perfectly riveted weapons and ammunition to Hitler's troops, and very significant numbers of Czechs (as well as Bulgarians, Hungarians, Romanians and other "brothers") fought on the Eastern Front.
      The only thing the author made a mistake is in the name of the wonderful and already late artist ANGUS McBride (and not Magnus).
      1. voyaka uh
        voyaka uh 19 June 2016 15: 35
        "The Czechs were not threatened with genocide, the Czechs were not robbed or burned for
        intimidation by entire villages "////

        After the murder by underground members of Hitler’s governor Heydrich in the 42nd
        Terror also fell on the Czech Republic. Villages burned just like
        in Belarus.
        1. VeryBravePiggy
          VeryBravePiggy 19 June 2016 15: 44
          The completely incomparable scale of repression. Where 10 Polish / Czech underground and peasants were shot and a couple of houses burned down, several hundred people were destroyed in Belarus, and large villages were destroyed at zero.
          1. Aleksandr72
            Aleksandr72 19 June 2016 17: 16
            Of course, the scale of Hitler’s repressions in the Czech Republic and Belarus is not comparable. But remember the Czech village, or rather the mining village of Lidice:
            On June 10, 1942, units of the 7th SS Volunteer Division “Prince Eugene” surrounded Lidice; the entire male population over 15 years old (172 people) was shot, women (172 people) were sent to the Ravensbrück concentration camp (60 of them died in the camp). Of the children (105 people), children up to one year old and children suitable for Germanization were left. The remaining 82 children were killed in the death camp near Chelmno, and 6 more children died. All the buildings of the village were burned and razed to the ground. By the morning of June 11, the village of Lidice was only a bare ashes. A few days later the village of Lezaki near Pardubice was destroyed; all the men of this village were also killed.

            This was the usual "revenge" for Nazi Germans for the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich.
            Of course, 82 killed Czech children and tens of thousands of Soviet children tortured to death in concentration camps are incomparable on a mass scale. But still.
            In today's Lidice, a monument to murdered children is erected:
        2. Moore
          Moore 20 June 2016 10: 47
          Quote: voyaka uh
          After the murder by underground members of Hitler’s governor Heydrich in the 42nd
          Terror also fell on the Czech Republic. The villages were burned in exactly the same way as in Belarus.

          Even the villages ... Yeah, could there be anything other than Lidice?
          And to level the murder of 1331 people in Czechoslovakia (which is also, of course, inhuman) with the victims of the same Belarusian people is demagogy.
        3. The comment was deleted.
    2. Kenneth
      Kenneth 19 June 2016 11: 45
      But the USSR fought, although it could simply surrender.
    3. overb
      overb 19 June 2016 22: 57
      Quote: overb
      They had no opportunity to fight the Germans, Poles, Hungarians and Slovaks. Therefore, they did not fight.

      It’s amazing. Only one person agrees that in 1938-39. Czechs could not fight with the Germans, Poles, Hungarians and Slovaks (they wanted to secede) together. Or, as taught in the USSR, Yusers traditionally believe that it was only the Germans that there was something in 1938. annexed? No, the gang was bigger there. Much. Therefore, the Czechs simply did not shine.
      Quote: Kenneth
      But the USSR fought, although it could simply surrender.

      No need to compare the ratio of forces of the countries of the anti-Hitler coalition and the Axis countries, with the forces of the Czechs against Germany, Poland, Hungary and internal enemies, Slovaks. Those. there is not even a subject for comparison. Elephant and ... flea.
      Quote: VeryBravePiggy
      Czechs did not fight against the Germans in World War II because a significant part of them sympathized with cutie Adika

      So they did not fight against the Poles. Did you sympathize with Mostitsky?
      Quote: VeryBravePiggy
      hated the USSR, communists and Russians

      And where did these "revelations" come from? By the way, the USSR bought something for the army from the Czechs. Not for money, for exchange. For example, the USSR sold SB blueprints to the Czechs. It is not clear why the Czechs needed them.
      1. Kenneth
        Kenneth 19 June 2016 23: 18
        No need to cover up the banal cowardice of Czechs and Benes. Germany was still completely different from a year later. And the Czech army was one of the strongest in Europe. And she promised the support of the USSR
        1. overb
          overb 19 June 2016 23: 59
          Quote: Kenneth
          Germany was still completely different from a year later.

          In a year, even a warring army cannot change much. The year does not play a big role here.
          Quote: Kenneth
          And the Czech army was one of the strongest in Europe.

          How? There were two people in Czechoslovakia, but it got too big. And it was dangerous for Slovaks to give weapons to their hands.
          Quote: Kenneth
          And she promised the support of the USSR

          Who else would protect him. The world adequately assessed the "might of the USSR". Unlike the leadership of the USSR. Therefore, Poland was considered quite enough to contain it. And Poland was just among the "cutters" of Czechoslovakia. If the USSR in 1938. ran into Poland, then there is a high probability that before 1939. The USSR would not have lived. And if he lived, then not all.
  6. Kenneth
    Kenneth 19 June 2016 11: 43
    I wonder why these Wagenburgs never tried to take field artillery. Czech victories are understandable in principle. In the first, there were usually more of them; in the second, they were always due to fortifications. The swagger of knights is the main source of victory. And by the way, the taborites usually didn’t just rob the captured settlements, but cut them out. In principle, in what was then Europe, taborites are a cancerous tumor.
    1. sivuch
      sivuch 19 June 2016 12: 02
      as far as I remember, they only guessed to put guns on wheels somewhere in the middle of the 15th century. Before that, their mobility was lower than the baseboard.
      Perhaps it would be easier for the French. Firstly, the brothers of the Bureau created the best artillery in the world, and secondly, the British taught not to get in front of the Old Man in hell.
  7. nnz226
    nnz226 19 June 2016 12: 31
    In addition to the Russians (this constantly has to beat the muzzles of all conquerors), all other nations in military affairs are becoming shallow: the Czechs from a tough army turned by 1938 into a herd of bleating sheep who did not dare to contradict the Germans, whom they had previously beaten. For 71 years after the capture of Berlin, the Germans also slipped into "tolerance" ... I don't even want to talk about the rest of the Geyrop! There were gueuzes in the Netherlands, and now there are red-light districts and soon marijuana on the lawns (still in pots) ...
    1. aksakal
      aksakal 20 June 2016 01: 10
      Quote: nnz226
      all other nations in the military are becoming smaller: the Czechs from a cool army turned into a herd of bleating sheep by 1938,

      - incorrect observation. For all their dislike for the Israelis, they do not shrink in military affairs ... So "about everyone" - you lied a little. And they listed the countries that had a specific loss in the war in the past. By the word "concrete" I mean when they were defeated not only militarily, but also moral, and spiritual, and psychic ... Total defeat, in short. The militant Swedes, the descendants of the hyper-warlike Vikings, Russia inflicted such a defeat at Poltava ... Since then, the Swedes have not fought. The Dutch have come off well from the Britons, the Germans - you understand ... And by the way, the major defeat of the Germans in the First World War, the same, like the defeat of the Russians in the Crimean War, it was purely military in nature, but morally or spiritually at that time the representatives of the losing side were not broken and therefore very quickly recovered from the defeat.
      The only negative, or rather, the question of my version of the fading in the military affairs of some peoples - why have the Turks still not suffered a total defeat from the Russians? After all, 13 times the Russians are good ... it is! For 13 times it was impossible to disrupt them so that they too would begin to falter in military affairs? It is incomprehensible ... And at the same time it’s clear - the Turks will have to be wetted 14 times, and this time so that they would also get massively sick with pacifism and tolerance. Not to do this this time, which means that the time will come for 16 and 17 Mochilov. Is it about the rake again? It's time to wean from the rake.
  8. magician
    magician 19 June 2016 19: 59
    thanks to the author! it is very nice to remember the story, otherwise we are somehow one-sided about the Czechs.)))
  9. certero
    certero 20 June 2016 04: 07
    Quote: overb
    They had no opportunity to fight the Germans, Poles, Hungarians and Slovaks. Therefore, they did not fight.

    Greece also had no opportunity, Yugoslavia, not to mention Norway. Only there governments and troops fought, and in the Czech Republic, which at that time had an excellent army with excellent weapons, it did not. And yes, of course, she won. There were no such losses, weapons calmly produced the whole war for Germany, and on May 9 they raised an uprising. And they became fighters against the Nazis ...
    In general, Czechoslovakia has many debts to Russia, starting with the rebellion of their corps, which became the beginning of the GV and ending with almost a thousand of their tanks, which in 41 were very useful to the Germans.
    1. overb
      overb 21 June 2016 00: 45
      Quote: certero
      Greece also had no opportunity, Yugoslavia, not to mention Norway.

      Take an interest in the area of ​​these states.
      In addition, compare the population of the Czech Republic with the population of Germany, Poland, Hungary combined. Yes, and minus the Slovaks.
      Quote: certero
      which at that time had an excellent army with excellent weapons

      Who told you this? Have you come up with it yourself? Where did the Czechs get their "magnificent army"? Have you heard about the "magnificent Czech tanks" with 37-mm cannons? that was all, there was no normal armament in the Czech Republic.
      Quote: certero
      In general, Czechoslovakia has many debts to Russia, starting with the rebellion of their corps, which became the beginning of the GV and ending with almost a thousand of their tanks, which in 41 were very useful to the Germans.

      And what about almost 50 years of occupation and the imposition of Soviet-type insanity? Let me remind you that the Czechs did not fight against the USSR, there was no reason to occupy them. I had to communicate with Czechs during the period of "great friendship". It seems to me that they looked at the mangy dogs at the garbage dump with more respect than the "older brothers".
  10. potapych
    potapych 20 June 2016 11: 42
    yes, the Hussites at one time gave a light to the knights
  11. haron
    haron 22 June 2016 10: 14
    Quote: certero
    in the Czech Republic, which at that time had an excellent army with excellent weapons, it did not.

    It's a pity to waste time on you, but maybe at least others will understand.
    After the Munich surrender, the Czechs were given an ultimatum not only by Hitler, but also by almost all of Europe and especially by England and France. Like: "Sha Jirzhi, don't rock the boat, or the aloizich will get even more angry." Then ALL neighbors tore off the Czech Republic piece by piece. It was on these torn pieces that the URs stood with the help of which the Czechs could more or less pat Adolf.
    After the "circumcision of the Sudetenland and others", the Czech army began to completely change the doctrine (go and not Russ, there really is nowhere to retreat). But Aloizich quickly got wind of this case and !! when was the Czech Republic occupied ?! AND? history connoisseur? Before the Second World War or after? And why? What did Hitler say to Gaha before the occupation? In short, learn to analyze history. At 41, they wore more than 5 Czechs in length, and you yourself are trying to push others around.