The Kahlenberg battle


In 1683 Turkey declared war to Austria. An army composed of 70,000 soldiers commanded by the vizir Kara Mustafa crossed Hungary and arrived to Vienna on July 18, 1683, beginning the siege of the town.

Austria, which signed an agreement of mutual assistance with Poland on March 31, 1665, asked Poland for help. The king Jan III Sobieski raised an 27,000 men strong army and, without waiting for the Lithuanian regiments (Lithuania belonged at this time to Poland which formed the "Polish Commonwealth"), he left and, crossing Moravia, arrived on September 6 to Tulln, 20 km north-west of Vienna. German troops under the command of prince Charles of Lotharingen were already there. Christian troops had about 70,000 men. King Sobieski was given the supreme command.

The army fought heading to Vienna and, when it reached the plain the king ordered on September 12 the final assault. He lead himself the charge of 20,000 Polish and German cavalrymen breaking the Turkish defense and arrived with prince Charles to the Turkish camp. The great vizir and the remaining of the Turkish army ran away.

Turkish casualties and dead: 15,000; allied casualties and dead: 3,500.

King Sobieski's entrance to Vienna (by Juliusz Kossak)

Copyright (c) 2005 by M. K. M. Zacharz