Venimus, vidimus, Deus vicit! 'We came, we saw, God conquered'. This Latin sentence , paraphrased from the famous saying by Julius Caesar, was used by Polish King Jan III Sobieski in his letter to Pope Innocent XI announcing that the allied side was victorious and had defeated the Ottoman forces beseiging Vienna in 1683. It was one of the most famous and important battles of the 17th century so it is not surprising that through the years researchers from many countries wrote about the siege, relief of the city and its consequences.
There are many books available in English, describing the siege of Vienna and the relief action in 1683, unfortunately they tend to be full of errors and misconceptions regarding the Polish army - its organisation, strength and activities during the battle. In this book based mostly, but not exclusively, on Polish primary and secondary sources, we will examine many aspects of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth's military system and the role it played in the allied effort in 1683.
Earlier Polish experience from the war against the Ottoman Turks in 1672-1676 made their contribution vital for the coalition’s war effort in 1683. No surprise then, that Sobieski was chosen as commander of the joint forces and that the Poles were deployed on the ancient place of honour in an army’s order of battle – on the right wing. Many Polish researchers, like Jan Wimmer, Leszek Podhorodecki or Zdzisław Żygulski Junior (to name just few), have written extensively about the subject covered in this book, but unfortunately their works are not available in English. In this volume the author tries to present to English-speaking readers the Polish perspective of the battle and the role of the Polish army in the conflict.
There is much detailed information about the organisation and strength of the army that Jan III led on their march to relieve Vienna: the structure, weapons and equipment of the units, even down to company level. All formations, from the winged hussars to artillery, are covered. The background of the commanders – including not just the King but other high-ranking officers – are also presented. However, the book does not focus solely on the relief of the city. The remaining actions of the campaign in 1683 are also described, such as both battles of Párkány and the arrival of the Lithuanian army, together with Polish and Cossack actions in Podolia and Moldavia, which were forever in the shadow of the main events of 1683. Finally, the organisation and military actions of the troops under the command of Hieronim Augustyn Lubomirski, and raised as Imperial auxiliary division in Poland, is also covered.
The book is based on many primary and secondary sources, including diaries, letters and surviving muster rolls of individual units and the whole army. Many of these have not previously been available in English, and provide an extremely interesting insight into the seventeenth century views and observations of the army and the campaign.
About the author:
Michał Paradowski is an independent Polish researcher, living in Scotland. While interested in both 16th and 17th century warfare, his main field of study are the Polish-Swedish wars waged between 1621 and 1635. He published historical articles in Polish, English, Russian and French; also, a book (in Polish) ‘Studies and Materials regarding wars against Sweden 1600-1635’ (NapoleonV, 2013). His first contribution for ‘Century of the Soldier’ series was paper ‘Aston, Butler and Murray – British Officers in the Service of Polish Vasa Kings 1621-1634’, published as a part of ‘Britain turned Germany’ (Helion & Company, 2019), In his spare time he works as historical editor for Polish publishing house NapoleonV and historical consultant for ‘By Fire and Sword’ miniature game produced by Wargamer Games Studio Ltd. You can find his historical blog on http://kadrinazi.blogspot.co.uk/