Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Today In History: The Gates of Vienna.

In a real life "Battle of the Pelennor Fields", the well-timed cavalry charge led by Sobieski's winged hussars shattered the Ottoman infantry before the gates of Vienna, turning the tide of Turkish expansion into Europe. Put that in your Polack joke pipe and smoke it.

Fairly elegant that it falls on the same day as Marathon.

17 comments:

comatus said...

Wouldn't you just hate to have to spell Marathon in Polish? Still the image of a Hussar (one who wasn't Lithuanian, Hungarian or Ukrainian) riding home hard from Vienna to Krakaw is worthy of Browning (no, the other one):

"As I poured down his throat our last measure of wine, which was no more than his due who brought good news..."

~Fathairybastard~ said...

They were lucky it wasn't the Mongols they were charging.

Mark said...

Tom Kratman mentions this battle in his book " A Desert Called Peace."

It is currently what I'm reading on my PDA.

DirtCrashr said...

And when the un-dead Turks fled their encampments leaving behind everywhere many large curious sacks of greenish beans, the spy-guy who had snuck through their lines in disguise and had alerted the attackers said, "For my prize, I'll take those..."
And everybody thought he was a total goofball nutjob - until he opened the first Coffeehous outside the Orient...

comatus said...

Oh, yeah, sure. And I'll bet they served croissants and hot cross buns in them, too. Joe Apstry calls it "without question the most baking-intensive conflict in the history of warfare."

comatus said...

Sorry, "Joe Pastry." Joe Starbucks.

phlegmfatale said...

well, yeah! I mean, those guys were bound to lose, carrying cumbersome footstools with them everywhere they went.

Tam said...

They were lucky it wasn't the Mongols they were charging.

The day of the horse archer had been and gone by the early 16th Century. The Mongols would have been as relevant at Vienna as the 24th Reg't of Foot would have been in Desert Storm.

Cybrludite said...

Meanwhile over at the blog Gates Of Vienna we see what happened in Brussels this September 11th. To steal Istapundit's schtick, they said that the war which started on 9/11/01 would lead to a loss of free speach, and they were right.

comatus said...

cybr, (sigh) yep. No good news, from Ghent to Aix.

Anonymous said...

I'm ashamed to admit I Googled it, but you sent me: the 24th is currently deployed in Afghanistan, where, doubtless, their previous experience stands them in good stead. Quite possibly no Mongols, though. Top tenors maybe.

DirtCrashr said...

The Croissant was invented in Vienna to celebrate the victory. Bakers re-shaped the popular "semmel" (the HonestToGod BEST kaiser roll EverInTheWorld) into the Muslim's religious symbol - and ate it as a big FU to the Turks. Later Napoleon took it back to France after he married the Hapsburg princess Marie Louise, the daughter of Francis II.
Foodwars - the army travels on its stomach.

comatus said...

ahh dirt, that's why I was joking about it. That tale probably dates from the 1920's (see pastry site misspelled above). The croissant has also been attributed to sieges of Buda (wrong armies) and Lyon(too early). A variant, which I choose to believe, is that Vienna bakers were rewarded for raising the alarum with a long-term tax break, which brought all Yerp's best zymurgists to Vienna and led to the Golden Ave of Pastry there (last part undisputed even in Paris)--and finally, the cold-working yeast which makes lager. So you see it *can't* be true. But God, it is a beautiful story, so it *deserves* to be...

T.Stahl said...

BTW, guess what you can't teach in history classes in Austrian schools due to the high percentage of Turkish kids...

DirtCrashr said...

I learned it while studying in Vienna as a part of Austrian History, from the the Director of the program - the niece of Max Reinhardt. I'm thinking it pre-dates the 20's by more than a bit. Anyhow the nearest brewery is all the way out in Schwechat by the airport - and it is good lager, my homestay-family's Dad worked there. :-P

comatus said...

Well, if it's a cooked-up legend, you surely got it hot out of the oven. You can google as well as I can; many sources are anxious to debunk it. I'm going to ask about this next time I'm in Budapest. Lyon, maybe not so much. FWIW, many recounters can't even get the year of the battle right.

You'll also get an argument about how "light" the early Viennese lager was--especially if you're around Budweis. Good, though.

And what's this about the Lithuanians not showing up?

DirtCrashr said...

So far as I know, hot out of the oven is right. The Viennese use baked goods like the quintessential semmel in other ways to confront/obstruct the Gubbmin't censors and critics, in on-stage displays of defiance.
Also, Theater, despite the upper-crusty group was the common man vehicle - everybody had an opinion, and at every level.
Caught by the cops one night braking bottles (among with some others) the gendarmerie said very angrily, "Was fur ein Theater is dass?" We slunk away with great ear-ringing about "who's gonna clean this up?!?" and more stuff...
It was '79. I was in the "Eroffnung" of the Philharmoniker-Orchester Walz, dressed like a penguin going counter-clockwise - just as the Duke had taught us... It was a trip. The Pilsner Urquell at the Kirche pub/hall with palichinken was...sublime - Kraft-carmel aftertaste, off the Stadtbahn-49 station ropute. Damn I wish I was back there and young again - but not stupid. Hutteldorf, Haus Muittel Europa - Nussdorferstrasse, Auge Gottes... A lot of walking. Damn. Those were my battles.