Thursday, January 07, 2010

Gates of Vienna...

Polish winged hussars... "March of Cambreadth"... Two great tastes that taste great together.

(H/T to Dad's Deadpool Blog.)


Jenny said...

That song doesn't just have legs.... more like Valkyrie wings and combat boots. :)

How many of you can catch a fly? ;)

Tam said...

...and thank you, Jenny, for cluing me in to "March of Cambreadth". :)

Firehand said...

One of my favorite songs. One of the only ones I'll turn the volume REALLY HIGH in the truck.

First time I'd ever seen the mirror vibrate in time to the drums

Ed Foster said...

Pity the swords and lances weren't as accurate as the wings. Amazing group of men.

The wings, originally copied from Serbian mercenaries, were to throw off the lassoes thrown by Cossacks.

The Polish saber was similar to the British Hanger or Spanish Bilbao, almost a double thickness scimitar, heavily curved, with the addition of a rounded end, sharpened all the way around, that couldn't get stuck in between ribs or collar bones.

Their lance was short and counterbalanced, only 5 feet long forward of the bell.

Long enough to outreach a Cossack or Turkish saber in a thrust, short enough to put a German or Swede at a disadvantage due to the non-Polish gentleman being at the end of a longer lever. The Pole had the ability to parry and still recover his point inside his opponent's guard.

After the disasterous defeats under the leadership of Augustus of Saxony, the Poles were left their heavy cavalry, but had to discharge their German gunners, mostly from the Hanseatic League cities around the Baltic. They also lost all their larger siege caliber artillery and their Irish mercenary heavy infantry.

At it's best, with the Polish cavalry to isolate an enemy city, brilliant German gunnery to breach it's walls, and suicidal Irish "Wild Geese" to storm it, they were almost unbeatable.

After the loss of it's combined arms military, the collapse was rapid, and several partitions of the country between Germany, Austria, and Russia followed.

The German artillerymen found quick hire among the Swedes and Russians, and the Irish troops were hired en masse by the French, to become the wildly successful Brigade Irlandaise, which morphed into the Foriegn Legion under Napoleon.

But for a century and a half, they were the best combined arms force east of the English channel, and achieved amazing results.

Anonymous said...

Those bagpipes really stir my Scottish blood. I'm going to be singing this song for the next week, for sure.

Hunsdon said...

Heh heh. Of course, the video is from the Russian movie 1612, about the Time of Troubles, and the winged knights are very definitely the bad guys in this picture. Combined with the March's lyric, the whole point is to kill the Polish hussars and keep Russia free (umm, said in context). If you're in the mood for some good rousing Polish history/propaganda, check out the films made in Poland from the Henryk Seinkowicz novels, "The Deluge," "With Fire and Sword" and "Colonel Wolodyjowski." It'll put you in a fine temper to leap on your cayuse and saber some dirty Cossacks, some filthy Turks, and some preening Swedes! (Not that that's a bad thing . . . . )

Tam said...


I figured, as they were definitely filmed in "Heavy-Vision".

Still, seeing the video was serendipitous, as I had literally just finished reading about Sobieski at Vienna...

Ed Foster said...

Cossack: Don't forget the brilliant novel "The Thousand Hour Day" by Kuniczak. If ever a story was written about my ex-in-laws, a classy, remarkable group of old cavalry officers from the Goral, that was the book.

A Lithuanian friend put me on to "With Fire and Sword" years ago, mentioning there was somebody to love and to hate among every one of the various groups in the book.

It was actually first published in chapters, printed in local newspapers across eastern Europe. People would stand in line waiting for the issues to be handed out, from Vienna to Vladivostok.

I still wonder if there isn't a place for horse cavalry in certain terrains, especially with the kind of anti-air, anti-armor, and sniping capabilities units like that could pack nowadays.

And maybe it's a guy thing, but does anybody remember the name of the late 1940's Italian movie about the old cavalry horse that turns up pulling a junk wagon after the second world war?

It was noticed by a veteran, and discovered to be the mount of the commanding officer of the Tuscan cavalry unit that made the last great cavalry charge ever, smashing through Cossack units and gutting a major artillery emplacement.

The Italians built a shrine to the unit, and the horse lived out it's life as a pampered national monument.

A ballsy flick, and kind of a tearjerker, in a good way.

Occasional moist eyes in memory of brave men who did marvelous things is discreetly acceptable. I remember a few every November 10th.

Ed foster said...

And, on things Italian and military, what was the series of comedy short stories about the small town Catholic priest who was always at odds with the Communist mayor?

I remember the one about the priest getting in trouble because he mounted his old light machinegun over his fireplace, as a memento of his time as a soldier and so he wouldn't forget brave friends who never came home.

His defense of personal firearms ownership was funny, witty, and totally noble.

If anybody can remember the name and author, I'll raise a schooner of Ten Penny's finest Red Ale to your health.

Sigman said...

There used to be a version of March of the Cambreath on YouTube with video from the movie Serenity that was AWESOME! It was apparently taken down over copyright issues.

Old NFO said...


BobG said...

One of my favorite songs.

Anonymous said...

My iTunes gift card just took another hit.

I'm gonna wear my kilt tomorrow.

GuardDuck said...


Would that author be

Giovanni Guareschi

Anonymous said...

Bummer, Anon, you could have gotten it for free from the author:

Anonymous said...

I will believe the Won is serious about the WOT when I see Robert Gibbs dance to the March of Cambreadth at a WH presser, and Barry sings the lyrics at his State of the Union address, accompanied by Joe Biden on the bag pipes;

and, then announces he has dispatched a company of these warriors to the Stan and a platoon, or two, to Yemen with orders to bring back scalps.

Beaumont said...

Was not familiar with the song until I started reading John Ringo's books. Now it's a fave.

John B said...

How many of them can we make die?

Why do I think of the upcoming congressional elections, and the democratic leadership when I hear that line.

Let's get out that vote, Americans!

My nephew at 7 years said that "You're either an American, or a Democrat!"
Out of the mouths of...

John B said...

Re: my previous comment....
As I don't wish a 3AM visit from the Secret Service, by "Make Die" I meant "vote out of office". To this end I dipped into my ammo fund and donated $25 each to the election campaigns of the opponents of Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Boxer, and Harry Reid.

Spend my money wisely ladies!

Ian Argent said...

Hey, just because you can get something for free is no reason not to pay for it to support the artist. You can also get it on the Gust Front CD (Google Baen Free CDs for various places to get them - I prefer Joe Buckley's site, but to each their own).

The instrumental introduction from when the bagpipes start to the vocals is EXACTLY the right length for my cellphone's ring (right on 30 seconds) and so it is.

It's definately Heather Alexander's most famous piece, having been picked up by John Ringo (though I first saw it used in a book in the Island on the Sea of Time series, essentially as the theme for a Age of Sail fleet naval engagement cum boarding action; where it fits as than it does for the theme song of the Triple Nickel or the Blood Lords). The rest of her work is pretty nifty as well - looking at my MP3 collection I have ... approximately 8 hrs of music tagged with Heather Alexander (and not all of my music is properly tagged).

Her version of Bedlam Boys is my favorite of the half-dozen or so different copies of that by different artists.

jselvy said...

I first heard this tune at about 3 am at a ren fest. I know its a strange hobby but it is a lot of fun.