dissabte, 5 de novembre de 2011

On the Commonwealth forces

In 1696 the army of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was divided into:

  • mercenary "Germans" army 
  • Infantry wybraniecka - Troops from Royal lands
  • expedition fiefs and smoke - troopsrecruited from every 50 houses (smokes)
  • Zaporozhian Cossack troops,
  • noble cavalry consisting of four major types: heavily armored hussars , Cossacks (from the seventies called pancerny ),  Tartar and Wallachian light cavalry and organized according to Western models - arkabuzerii and Reiters ;
Non-state armed forces
  • units contracted by the province and the lands
  • The royal guards - paid by the king (kind of a magnate army)
  • armed forces of the royal cities
  • Private armies -Magnate forces
  • Ordynacka army - Garrison troops

At the end of Jan II Sobieski's reign (ended 1696) the army of the commonwealth consited of:


3430 hussars,
10670 pancerni,
3310 light cavalry,
1600 western style cuirassiers,
4640 dragoons,
14000 infantry,
1200 'hungarian' infantry,

a very cavalry heavy army of which the most famous element are Polish Winged Hussars, winners of the Battle of Viena, and proportionally one of  the smaller elements of the Polish Army.

The bulk of the Cavalry arm were provided by the Pancerny - or Armoured ones, who were armed with bows, lances and carbines, and would not look out of place on a medieval battlefield.

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