Battle of Orsha
The Battle of Orsha was fought on 8 September 1514, between the allied forces of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Kingdom of Poland, under the command of Hetman Konstanty Ostrogski. The Battle of Orsha was part of a long series of Muscovite–Lithuanian Wars conducted by Muscovite rulers striving to gather all the former Kievan Rus' lands under their rule. According to Rerum Moscoviticarum Commentarii by Sigismund von Herberstein, the primary source for information on the battle, the much smaller army of Poland–Lithuania defeated a force of 80,000 Muscovite soldiers, capturing their camp and commander; these numbers and proportions have been disputed by modern historians. At the end of 1512, the Grand Duchy of Moscow began a new war for the Grand Duchy of Lithuania's Ruthenian lands in present-day Lithuania and Ukraine. Albrecht I, Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights and refused to give a vassal pledge to Sigismund I the Old of Poland-Lithuania, as required by the Second Peace of Thorn. Albrecht I was supported by Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor.
The fortress of Smolensk was the easternmost outpost of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and one of the most important strongholds guarding it from the east. It repelled several Muscovite attacks, but in July 1514 a Muscovite army besieged and captured it. Spurred on by this initial success, the Grand Prince of Moscow Vasili III ordered his forces farther into present-day Belarus, occupying the towns of Krichev and Dubrovna. Meanwhile, Sigismund the Old gathered some 35,000 troops for war with his eastern neighbor; this army was inferior in numbers, but consisted of well-trained cavalry. The forces of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Kingdom of Poland placed under the command of Hetman Konstanty Ostrogski included 16,000 Lithuania cavalry, 14,000 Polish cavalry, 3,000 Polish mercenary infantry, 2,500 volunteers from Bohemia. Sigismund left 4,000–5,000 men in the town of Barysau, while the main force, around 30,000 strong, moved on to face the Muscovites. At the end of August, several skirmishes took place at the crossings of the Berezina and Drut Rivers, but the Muscovite army avoided a major confrontation.
Suffering negligible losses, the Muscovites advanced to the area between Orsha and Dubrovno on the Krapivna River, where they set up camp. Ivan Chelyadnin, confident that the Lithuanian-Polish forces would have to cross one of the two bridges on the Dnieper River, split his own forces to guard those crossings. However, Ostrogski's army crossed the river farther north via two pontoon bridges. On the night of 7 September, the Lithuanian-Polish army began preparations for a final battle with the Muscovites. Hetman Konstantyn Ostrogski placed most of his 16,000 horses from the Grand Duchy in the center, while most of the Polish infantry and the auxiliary troops manned the flanks; the Bohemian and Silesian infantry were deployed in the center of the line, in front of the reserves comprising Lithuanian and Polish cavalry. The size of the Muscovite army remains an unsolved question. Narrative Lithuanian-Polish sources give large numbers. King Sigismund wrote to Pope Leo X about a "horde of Muscovites" of 80,000 men.
Sigismund claimed that his army had killed 30,000 Muscovites and taken prisoner 46 commanders and 1,500 nobles. Extant Polish and Lithuanian documents, list all captured nobles by name; the Polish historian Bohun considers it improvident to rely on what he terms "propaganda data" given by Sigismund. Gembarowicz is of the opinion, it remains unclear why - if the figure of 70,000–80,000 men is to be trusted - King Sigismund kept a personal guard of about 5,000 men in reserve, without sending them into the battle. The Muscovite chronicles claim a Lithuanian-Polish numerical superiority; the Russian historian A. Lobin tried to calculate the size of the Muscovite army at Orsha based on the mobilisation capacities of the towns which had to send townspeople for military service, it is known that except for Boyar sons of the sovereign's regiment, the army consisted of people from at least 14 towns: Novgorod, Velikie Luki, Murom, Tver, Roslavl, Pereyaslavl, Kolomna and Starodub. Based on figures from the well-documented Polotsk campaign of 1563, the author gives the following estimates: 400–500 Tatars, 200 boyar sons of the sovereign's regiment, 3,000 Novgorodian and Pskovians, about 3,600 representatives of other towns, altogether about 7,200 noblemen.
Once servants are included, the overall size of the Muscovite army could be 13,000-15,000 men. Considering the losses during the campaign, the level of desertion, documented in the sources and the number of soldiers left as a garrison in Smolensk; this calculation method has been backed by such historians as Brian Davies, N. Smirnov, A. Pankov, O. Kurbatov, М. Krom, V. Penskoy. On 8 September 1514, shortly after dawn, Ivan Chelyadnin gave the order to attack; the Muscovite forces attempted to outflank the Lithuanians and Poles by attacking their flanks, which were manned by Polish, Lithuanian light hussar and Tartar troops. One of the pincers of the attack was commanded by Chelyadnin while the other was led by Prince Bulgakov-Golitsa; the initial attack failed, the Muscovites withdrew toward
The szlachta was a privileged noble class in the Kingdom of Poland, in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. After the Union of Lublin in 1569, the Grand Duchy and its neighbouring Kingdom became a single state, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth; the origins of the szlachta are shrouded in obscurity and mystery and have been the subject of several theories. Traditionally, its members were landowners in the form of "manorial estates" or so-called folwarks; the nobility won substantial and increasing political and legal privileges for itself throughout its entire history until the decline and end of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth in the late 18th century. Apart from providing officers for the army, among its chief civic obligations were electing the monarch, plus filling advisory and honorary roles at court, e.g. Stolnik - "Master of the King's Pantry," or their assistant, in the state government, e.g. Podskarbi, "Minister to the Treasury", they served as elected representatives in the Sejm and in local Sejmiki assemblies, appointing officials and overseeing judicial and financial governance, including tax-raising, at the provincial level.
Their roles included Voivodeship, Marshal of Voivodeship and Starosta. The szlachta gained considerable institutional privileges between 1333 and 1370 in the Kingdom of Poland during the reign of King Casimir III the Great. In 1413, following a series of tentative personal unions between the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland, the existing Lithuanian-Ruthenian nobility formally joined this class; as the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth evolved and expanded in territory, its membership grew to include the leaders of Ducal Prussia and Livonia. During the Partitions of Poland from 1772 to 1795, minor szlachta began to lose these legal privileges and social status, while elites became part of nobility of partitioning countries. Although in reality, szlachta members could have unequal status due to wealth and political influence, there were few official distinctions between the elites and common nobility. Unlike in most other countries, those few hereditary titles that there were in the Kingdom of Poland, were bestowed by foreign monarchs, including personal hereditary titles granted by the Pope, see Feliks Sobański as an example.
While in Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Samogitia princely titles were inherited either by descendants of Old Lithuanian-Ruthenian Rurikid and Gediminids princely families, or by princely dynasties of Tatar origin that settled there. The Polish term szlachta is derived from the Old High German word slahta. In modern German Geschlecht - which came from the Proto-Germanic *slagiz, "blow", "strike", shares the Anglo-Saxon root for "slaughter" or the verb "to slug" – means "breeding" or gender. Like many other Polish words pertaining to nobility, it derives from Germanic words: So for example, the Polish for a "knight" is "rycerz", a cognate of the German "Ritter"; the Polish word for "coat of arms" is "herb" from the German "Erbe" or "heritage". 17th century Poles assumed that "szlachta" came from the German "schlachten" "to slaughter" or "to butcher", was therefore related to the German word for battle, "Schlacht". Some early Polish historians thought the term might have derived instead from the name of the legendary proto-Polish chief, mentioned in Polish and Czech writings.
A few exceptionally wealthy and powerful szlachta members during the 17th and 18th centuries came to be known as "magnates" - "możni": see Magnates of Poland and Lithuania. The Polish term "szlachta" designated the formalized, hereditary noble class of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, which constituted the nation itself, ruled without competition. In official Latin documents of the old Commonwealth, the hereditary szlachta were referred to as "nobilitas" from the Latin term, could be compared in legal status to English or British peers of the realm, or to the ancient Roman idea of cives, "citizen". Today the word szlachta translates as "nobility". In its broadest sense, it can denote some non-hereditary honorary knighthoods and baronial titles granted by other European monarchs, including the Holy See. 19th-century landowners of non-noble descent were referred to as szlachta by courtesy or error, when they owned manorial estates but were not in fact noble by birth. Szlachta denotes the Ruthenian and Lithuanian nobility from before the old-Commonwealth.
In the past, a misconception sometimes led to the mistranslation of "szlachta" as "gentry" rather than "nobility". This mistaken practice began due to the inferior economic status of many szlachta members compared to that of the nobility in other European countries; the szlachta included those rich and powerful enough to be magnates down to the indigent with a noble lineage, but with no land, no castle, no money, no village, no subject peasants. At least 60,000 families belonged to the nobility, only about 100 were wealthy, all the rest were poor. Over time, numerically most lesser szlachta became or were poorer than their few rich peers in their social class, many were worse off than the non-noble gentry, they were called szlachta zagrodowa, that is, "nobility from within the second estate compound", sometimes referred to as drobna szlachta, "petty nobles" or yet, szlachta okoliczna, meaning "local". Impoverished szlachta families were forced to become tenants of their wealthier peers, they were described as "tenant nobles" who paid rent.
In doing so, they retained all their constitutional prerogati
Battle of Obertyn
The Battle of Obertyn was fought between Moldavian Voivode Petru Rareş and Polish forces under hetman Jan Tarnowski, in the town of Obertyn, south of the Dniester River, now in Ukraine. The battle ended with the reconquest of Pokutia. In 1490, Stephen III of Moldavia conquered Pokutia, he was supported by the Kingdom of Hungary. After Stephen's death, the land was retaken by the Poles. Between 1529 and 1530, the Moldavians campaigned in Pokutia. Since Moldavia was a vassal state to the Porte, King Sigismund I the Old sent a letter to Sultan Suliman the Magnificent to ask him where he stood on the conflict; the Sultan replied that the Poles were allowed to battle in the disputed Pokutia, but were not permitted to set foot on Moldavian soil, as that would be seen as a declaration of war on the Ottomans. This restriction was disadvantageous to the Poles because of the greater mobility of the Moldavian troops; the Poles were led by the Crown Hetman of Hired Soldiers, Jan Tarnowski, to lead the army, as the Polish Parliament voted to raise taxes on their serfs in order to recruit mercenary soldiers.
Tarnowski was given 4,800 cavalry, 1,200 infantry, 12 cannon, a Tabor wagon train of unknown size. He picked the town of Obertyn, north of the Dniester River, as his operation point. Between June 3 and 5, Tarnowski sent 1,000 cavalry to oust the Moldavians from the region, quickly moved back to Obertyn, he placed 100 infantry to defend the town of Gwoździec, a few kilometers south of Obertyn. Between June 6 and July 18, Rareş responded by sending out a force of 6,000 cavalry to besiege Gwoździec; the Polish main army engaged the Moldavians, whom they routed. From July 18 to 21, the Moldavians advanced with 18,000 cavalry, 50 cannon, some infantry against the 6,000-strong Polish army that had regrouped. Tarnowski left some of his infantry in Gwoździec and made a slow retreat to defensive position defended by forest, north of Obertyn, where he fortified his army with his Tabor wagons; the artillery was placed in three corners of the camp and a part of the infantry was placed in the wagons, while the rest of his force, most of it cavalry, was deployed in the interior of the camp.
On July 22, the Moldavians sent light cavalry to attack the Polish wagon-fort, but these were repelled by the Polish infantry. The Moldavian cannon with little effect. Meanwhile, the far better trained and equipped Polish artillery inflicted severe damage on the Moldavian cannon. One-third of the Polish cavalry launched several successful attacks on the Moldavian left, forcing Rareş to reinforce it. He, left some infantry to defend his right and secure the route to Obertyn, in case he needed to retreat; the remaining Polish cavalry attacked the Moldavian right and routed it, but suffered casualties from the Moldavian artillery. A final Polish attack routed the entire Moldavian army; the Moldavians lost around 7,000 cavalry, 1,000 that were taken prisoners, all the cannons, while the Poles lost only 256 men. The Sultan removed Rareş from office with the explanation that "he had disturbed the Porte's best friend, the King of Poland." The Moldavians made another unsuccessful attempt to reconquer Pokutia in 1538.
Winged Hussars, Radoslaw Sikora, Bartosz Musialowicz, BUM Magazine, October 2016. Battle description
Kraków spelled Cracow or Krakow, is the second largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland. Situated on the Vistula River in the Lesser Poland region, the city dates back to the 7th century. Kraków was the official capital of Poland until 1596 and has traditionally been one of the leading centres of Polish academic, economic and artistic life. Cited as one of Europe's most beautiful cities, its Old Town was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site; the city has grown from a Stone Age settlement to Poland's second most important city. It began as a hamlet on Wawel Hill and was being reported as a busy trading centre of Central Europe in 965. With the establishment of new universities and cultural venues at the emergence of the Second Polish Republic in 1918 and throughout the 20th century, Kraków reaffirmed its role as a major national academic and artistic centre; the city has a population of about 770,000, with 8 million additional people living within a 100 km radius of its main square. After the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany at the start of World War II, the newly defined Distrikt Krakau became the capital of Germany's General Government.
The Jewish population of the city was forced into a walled zone known as the Kraków Ghetto, from which they were sent to German extermination camps such as the nearby Auschwitz never to return, the Nazi concentration camps like Płaszów. In 1978, Karol Wojtyła, archbishop of Kraków, was elevated to the papacy as Pope John Paul II—the first Slavic pope and the first non-Italian pope in 455 years; that year, UNESCO approved the first sites for its new World Heritage List, including the entire Old Town in inscribing Kraków's Historic Centre. Kraków is classified as a global city with the ranking of high sufficiency by GaWC, its extensive cultural heritage across the epochs of Gothic and Baroque architecture includes the Wawel Cathedral and the Royal Castle on the banks of the Vistula, the St. Mary's Basilica, Saints Peter and Paul Church and the largest medieval market square in Europe, the Rynek Główny. Kraków is home to Jagiellonian University, one of the oldest universities in the world and traditionally Poland's most reputable institution of higher learning.
In 2000, Kraków was named European Capital of Culture. In 2013 Kraków was approved as a UNESCO City of Literature; the city hosted the World Youth Day in July 2016. The name of Kraków is traditionally derived from Krakus, the legendary founder of Kraków and a ruler of the tribe of Lechitians. In Polish, Kraków is an archaic possessive form of Krak and means "Krak's". Krakus's name may derive from "krakula", a Proto-Slavic word meaning a judge's staff, or a Proto-Slavic word "krak" meaning an oak, once a sacred tree most associated with the concept of genealogy; the first mention of Prince Krakus dates back to 1190, although the town existed as early as the 7th century, inhabited by the tribe of Vistulans. The city's full official name is Stołeczne Królewskie Miasto Kraków, which can be translated as "Royal Capital City of Kraków". In English, a person born or living in Kraków is a Cracovian. While in the 1990s the English version of the name was written Cracow, the most widespread modern English version is Krakow.
Kraków's early history begins with evidence of a Stone Age settlement on the present site of the Wawel Hill. A legend attributes Kraków's founding to the mythical ruler Krakus, who built it above a cave occupied by a dragon, Smok Wawelski; the first written record of the city's name dates back to 965, when Kraków was described as a notable commercial centre controlled first by Moravia, but captured by a Bohemian duke Boleslaus I in 955. The first acclaimed ruler of Poland, Mieszko I, took Kraków from the Bohemians and incorporated it into the holdings of the Piast dynasty towards the end of his reign. In 1038, Kraków became the seat of the Polish government. By the end of the 10th century, the city was a leading centre of trade. Brick buildings were constructed, including the Royal Wawel Castle with St. Felix and Adaukt Rotunda, Romanesque churches such as St. Adalbert's, a cathedral, a basilica; the city was sacked and burned during the Mongol invasion of 1241. It was rebuilt identical, based on new location act and incorporated in 1257 by the high duke Bolesław V the Chaste who following the example of Wrocław, introduced city rights modelled on the Magdeburg law allowing for tax benefits and new trade privileges for the citizens.
In 1259, the city was again ravaged by the Mongols. A third attack in 1287 was repelled thanks in part to the new built fortifications. In 1335, King Casimir III of Poland declared the two western suburbs to be a new city named after him, Kazimierz; the defensive walls were erected around the central section of Kazimierz in 1362, a plot was set aside for the Augustinian order next to Skałka. The city rose to prominence in 1364, when Casimir III of Poland founded the University of Kraków, the second oldest university in central Europe after the Charles University in Prague. King Casimir began work on a campus for the Academy in Kazimierz, but he died in 1370 and the campus was never completed; the city continued to grow under the joint Lithuanian-Polish Jagiellon dynasty. As the capital of the Kingdom of Poland and a member of the Hanseatic League, the city attracted many craftsmen and guilds as science and the arts began to flourish; the royal chancery and the University ensured a first flourishing of Polish literary culture in the city.
The 15th and 16th centuries were known as Poland's Złoty Golden Age. Many works of Pol
The Serbs are a nation and South Slavic ethnic group that formed in the Balkans. The majority of Serbs inhabit the nation state of Serbia, as well as the disputed territory of Kosovo, the neighboring countries of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro, they form significant minorities in North Slovenia. There is a large Serb diaspora in Western Europe, outside Europe there are significant communities in North America and Australia; the Serbs share many cultural traits with the rest of the peoples of Southeast Europe. They are predominantly Eastern Orthodox Christians by religion; the Serbian language is official in Serbia, co-official in Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina, is spoken by the plurality in Montenegro. The modern identity of Serbs is rooted in traditions. In the 19th century, the Serbian national identity was manifested, with awareness of history and tradition, medieval heritage, cultural unity, despite living under different empires. Three elements, together with the legacy of the Nemanjić dynasty, were crucial in forging identity and preservation during foreign domination: the Serbian Orthodox Church, the Serbian language, Kosovo Myth.
When the Principality of Serbia gained independence from the Ottoman Empire, Orthodoxy became crucial in defining the national identity, instead of language, shared by other South Slavs. The tradition of slava, the family saint feast day, is an important ethnic marker of Serb identity, is regarded their most significant and most solemn feast day; the origin of the ethnonym is unclear. Genetic studies on Serbs show that they have close affinity with the rest of the Balkan peoples, those within former Yugoslavia. Serbia's people are among the tallest in the world, after Montenegro and the Netherlands, with an average male height of 1.82 metres. Slavs settled the Balkans in the 6th and 7th centuries. Up until the late 560s their activity was raiding, crossing from the Danube, though with limited Slavic settlement through Byzantine foederati colonies; the Danube and Sava frontier was overwhelmed by large-scale Slavic settlement in the late 6th and early 7th century. What is today central Serbia was an important geo-strategical province, through which the Via Militaris crossed.
This area was intruded by barbarians in the 5th and 6th centuries. The numerous Slavs assimilated the descendants of the indigenous population; the history of the early medieval Serbian Principality is recorded in the 10th-century work De Administrando Imperio, which describes the Serbs as a people living in Roman Dalmatia, subordinate to the Byzantine Empire. Numerous small Serbian states were created, chiefly under Vlastimorović and Vojislavjević dynasties, located in modern Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia. With the decline of the Serbian state of Duklja in the late 11th century, "Raška" separated from it and replaced it as the most powerful Serbian state. Prince Stefan Nemanja conquered the neighbouring territories of Kosovo and Zachlumia; the Nemanjić dynasty ruled over Serbia until the 14th century. Nemanja's older son, Stefan Nemanjić, became Serbia's first recognized king, while his younger son, founded the Serbian Orthodox Church in the year 1219, became known as Saint Sava after his death.
Over the next 140 years, Serbia expanded its borders, from numerous minor principalities, reaching to a unified Serbian Empire. Its cultural model remained Byzantine, despite political ambitions directed against the empire; the medieval power and influence of Serbia culminated in the reign of Stefan Dušan, who ruled the state from 1331 until his death in 1355. Ruling as Emperor from 1346, his territory included Macedonia, northern Greece and all of modern Albania; when Dušan died, his son Stephen Uroš V became Emperor. With Turkish invaders beginning their conquest of the Balkans in the 1350s, a major conflict ensued between them and the Serbs, the first major battle was the Battle of Maritsa, in which the Serbs were defeated. With the death of two important Serb leaders in the battle, with the death of Stephen Uroš that same year, the Serbian Empire broke up into several small Serbian domains; these states were ruled by feudal lords, with Zeta controlled by the Balšić family, Raška, Kosovo and northern Macedonia held by the Branković family and Lazar Hrebeljanović holding today's Central Serbia and a portion of Kosovo.
Hrebeljanović was subsequently accepted as the titular leader of the Serbs because he was married to a member of the Nemanjić dynasty. In 1389, the Serbs faced the Ottomans at the Battle of Kosovo on the plain of Kosovo Polje, near the town of Pristina. Both Lazar and Sultan Murad; the battle most ended in a stalemate, afterwards Serbia enjoyed a short period of prosperity under despot Stefan Lazarević and resisted failing to the Turks until 1459. The Serbs had taken an active part in the wars fought in the Balkans against the Ottoman Empire, organized uprisings. After allied Christian forces had captured Buda from the Ottoman Empire in 1686 during the Great Turkish War, Serbs from Pannonian Plain joined the troops of the Habsburg Monarchy as separate units known as Serbian Militia. Serbs, as volunteers, massively joined
A hussar was a member of a class of light cavalry, originating in Central Europe during the 15th and 16th centuries. The title and distinctive dress of these horsemen were subsequently adopted by light cavalry regiments in European armies in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. A number of armored or ceremonial mounted; the term derives from the cavalry of late medieval Hungary, under Matthias Corvinus with the Serbian warriors. The origin of the word "hussar" remains uncertain and several alternative theories are summarised below; the first written mention of the word Hussarones has been found in documents dating from 1432 in Southern Hungary. A type of irregular light horsemen was well-established by the 15th century in medieval Hungary. Etymologists are divided over the derivation of the word hussar. Byzantinist scholars argue that the term originated in Roman military practice, the cursarii. 10th-century Byzantine military manuals mention chonsarioi, light cavalry, recruited in the Balkans Serbs, "ideal for scouting and raiding".
This word was subsequently reintroduced to Western European military practice after its original usage had been lost with the collapse of Rome in the west. According to Webster's Dictionary, the word hussar stems from the Hungarian huszár, which in turn originates from the medieval Serbian husar, meaning brigand, from the Medieval Latin cursarius. On the other hand, others support another theory, that húsz means'twenty' in Hungarian whilst ár is a unit of land measurement or acre. Hussars are so named as they were a form of military levy whereby any land owner with twenty acres was duty bound to provide a mounted and equipped soldier to the king's army at his own expense, what was introuced since 1458; the hussars originated in bands of Serbian warriors, crossing into southern Hungary after the Ottoman conquest of Serbia at the end of the 14th century. Regent-Governor John Hunyadi created mounted units inspired by the Ottomans, his son, Matthias Corvinus king of Hungary, is unanimously accepted as the creator of these troops called Rác.
They fought in small bands, but were reorganised into larger, trained formations during the reign of King Matthias Corvinus. The first hussar regiments comprised the light cavalry of the Black Army of Hungary. Under Corvinus' command, the hussars took part in the war against the Ottoman Empire in 1485 and proved successful against the sipahis as well as against the Bohemians and Poles. After the king's death, in 1490, hussars became the standard form of cavalry in Hungary in addition to the heavy cavalry; the Habsburg emperors hired Hungarian hussars as mercenaries to serve against the Ottomans and on various battlefields throughout Western Europe. Early hussars wore armor when they could afford it like the Polish hussars. Hungarian hussars abandoned using shields and armors and became light cavalry in the first half of the 17th century; the first units of Polish Hussars in the Kingdom of Poland were formed around 1500. The Polish heavy hussars of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth were far more manoeuvrable than the armoured lancers employed.
The hussars proved vital to the Polish–Lithuanian victories at the Orsza, the Obertyn and the Battle of Vienna. Over the course of the 16th century, hussars in Transylvania and Hungary became heavier in character: They had abandoned wooden shields and adopted plate-metal body armour; when Stefan Bathory, a Transylvanian-Hungarian prince, was elected King of Poland in 1576, he reorganised the Polish-Lithuanian Hussars of his Royal Guard along Hungarian lines, making them a heavy formation, equipped with a long lance as their main weapon. By the reign of King Stefan Bathory, the hussars had replaced medieval-style lancers in the Polish–Lithuanian army, they now formed the bulk of the Polish cavalry. By the 1590s, most Polish–Lithuanian hussar units had been reformed along the same'heavy', Hungarian model. Due to the same resemblance, the Polish heavy hussars came with their own style, the Polish winged hussars or Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth winged husaria; the people of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth recognized the winged hussars as husarskie anioły.
In the Battle of Lubieszów, in 1577, the'Golden Age' of the husaria began. Up to and including the Battle of Vienna in 1683, the Polish–Lithuanian hussars fought countless actions against a variety of enemies. In the battles of Byczyna, Kircholm, Kłuszyn, Chocim and Lwów, the Polish–Lithuanian hussars proved to be the decisive factor against overwhelming odds; until the 18th century, they were considered the elite of the Commonwealth's armed forces. Hussars outside the Polish Kingdom followed a different line of development. During the early decades of the 17th century, hussars in Hungary ceased to wear metal body armour, it was hussars of this "light" pattern, rather than the Polish heavy hussar, that were to be copied across Europe. These light hussars were ideal for reconnaissance and raiding sources of fodder and provisions in advance of the army. In battle, t
Company (military unit)
A company is a military unit consisting of 80–150 soldiers and commanded by a major or a captain. Most companies are formed of three to six platoons, although the exact number may vary by country, unit type, structure. Several companies are grouped as a battalion or regiment, the latter of, sometimes formed by several battalions. Independent or separate companies are organized for special purposes, such as the 1st Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company or the 3rd Force Reconnaissance Company; these companies are not organic to a battalion or regiment, but rather report directly to a higher level organization such as a Marine Expeditionary Force headquarters. The modern military company became popularized during the reorganization of the Swedish Army in 1631 under King Gustav II Adolph. For administrative purposes, the infantry was divided into companies consisting of 150 men, grouped into regiments of eight companies. Tactically, the infantry companies were organized into battalions and grouped with cavalry troops and artillery batteries to form brigades.
From ancient times, some armies have used a base administrative and tactical unit of around 100 men. An organization based on the decimal number system might seem intuitive. To the Romans, for example, a unit of 100 men seemed sufficiently large to efficiently facilitate organizing a large body of men numbering into the several thousands, yet small enough that one man could reasonably expect to command it as a cohesive unit by using his voice and physical presence, supplemented by musical notes and visual cues. Furthermore, recent studies have indicated that humans are best able to maintain stable relationships in a cohesive group numbering between 100 and 250 members, with 150 members being the common number. Again, a military unit on the order of no more than 100 members, ideally fewer, would present the greatest efficiency as well as effectiveness of control, on a battlefield where the stress, fear, noise and the general condition known as the “fog of war” would present the greatest challenge to an officer to command a group of men engaged in mortal combat.
Until the latter half of the 19th century, when infantry troops still fought in close order and firing shoulder-to-shoulder in lines facing the enemy, the company remained at around 100, or fewer, men. The advent of accurate, long-range rifle fire, repeating rifles, machine guns necessitated dispersed combat formations. This, coupled with radio communication, permitted small numbers of men to have much greater firepower and combat effectiveness than possible. Companies, continue to remain within the general range of 100–250 members validating the premise that men fight best in organizations of around 150 members, more or less. While companies were grouped into battalions or regiments, there were certain sub-units raised as independent companies that did not belong to a specific battalion or regiment, such as Confederate States of America state local militia companies. However, upon activation and assimilation into the army, several of these independent companies would be grouped together to form either a battalion or a regiment, depending upon the number of companies involved.
More recent examples of separate companies would be the divisional support companies of a U. S. Army, Korean War-era infantry division and the divisional aviation company of a U. S. Army "Pentomic" infantry division; these companies were not organic to any intermediate headquarters, but rather reported directly to the division headquarters. Rifle companies consist of a company headquarters. Company-sized organisations in units with a horse-mounted heritage, such as the Household Cavalry, Royal Armoured Corps, Royal Engineers, Royal Corps of Signals, Army Air Corps, Special Air Service, Honourable Artillery Company and Royal Logistic Corps, use the term squadron instead of company, in the Royal Artillery they are called batteries; until after the Second World War, the Royal Engineers and Royal Signals had both squadrons and companies depending on whether the units were supporting mounted or foot formations. The British Army infantry identifies its rifle companies by letter within a battalion with the addition of a headquarters company and a support/heavy weapons company.
Some units name their companies after regimental battle honours. The foot guards regiments use traditional names for some of their companies, for example Queen's Company, Left Flank, Prince of Wales's Company etc. Royal Marines companies are designated by a letter, unique across the corps, not just within their command; the Intelligence Corps, Royal Army Medical Corps, Royal Military Police and Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers all have companies uniquely numbered across their corps. The defunct Royal Army Service Corps, Royal Pioneer Corps and Royal Army Ordnance Corps had companies.