Badass of the Month: Winged Hussars

Okay, I know I already wrote a post about these guys, but in doing further research, I found all kinds of cool stuff. It’s also forced me to succumb to the lure of Pinterest.

Even though my story is still totally fake, I feel the need for at least some semblance of accuracy. Also, I love to geek out about weapons and armour, so this is the perfect excuse. I once spent eight hours in the Arms and Armour wing of the Kunsthistorisches Museum in the Vienna Hofburg. I also bought the catalog- in two volumes- and read it! It’s unfortunately in storage now, but at least I have the internet.

These guys were armed to the teeth! Here’s what a typical Polish hussar carried:

A lance, hollowed-out and 15-20 feet in length:

They also often carried an arquebus, but how they would use it while riding, I do not know:

Underneath his left thigh, he carried a koncerz estoc with which to stab you:

and under his right thigh, a palasz, with which to stab you some more:

 

On his left side, he carried a szabla husarska, or cavalry saber to slash at whatever hasn’t been stabbed:

And, on the off chance he didn’t get to skewer you with his lance, or stab you or slice you, he might crack you over the head with a nadziak:

If you survived all of that, you might still get it from one of his two wheelock pistols, conveniently holstered in the saddle:

Or, the old-fashioned way, with bow and arrow:

Now, these guys were totally used to riding straight into gunfire, so they had to wear a lot of armour. Plus it helped them look very scary and cool.

I love the helmets:

Polish Winged Hussars Szyszak Helmet c 1670c-1733 History Forum ~ All Empires - Page 2 This Polish winged helmet is based on the winged helmet of The Guard of Augustus the Strong, and features sliding nasal bar, two-piece hand forged folded skull, articulated lobster tail, pierced cheek-pieces suspended with leather, and hand pierced wings.

Knight in shining armor. While this might look like fantasy armor, it is actually a Polish Winged Hussar's helmet. These were in use from from the 16th to 19th centuries.

Heavy plate to repel musket-fire:

Cuirass:

Breastplate from hussar's cuirass, c1580; This style of breastplate from Augsburg or Hungary, with its numerous articulating lames, was probably used by a Hungarian hussar, a type of light cavalryman. The steel plates were originally blued, etched and gilded with strapwork bands. The rows of vertical holes once provided gilt-brass settings for stones or glasspaste jewels. The effect would have suggested the semi-oriental costume and armor of the Near East favored by Polish and Hungarian armies.

Backplate and pauldrons:

Hussar medieval armor - flexible backplate, wide pauldrons and winged helmet

Gorget:

gorget

Vambraces for the arms, and of course the wings!

 

 

All of this: guy, armour and weapons could easily weigh over 220 pounds. They apparently had amazing horses that could carry all that weight for a day and still charge into battle without breaking a sweat.

No wonder they were the most feared and effective cavalry in Europe for hundreds of years!

 

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