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Battle Tactics of the Hussites

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They camped in the field with their women and children, who accompanied the army, as they had a large number of wagons with which they drew up a wall-like fortification. When they moved out for battle, they formed two lines of these wagons, which enclosed for foot troops, while the horsemen remained outside without moving off to any distance. If the battle was about to begin, the drivers, at the signal from their captain, quickly encircled part of the enemy army and formed an enclosure with their vehicles. Then their enemies, squeezed between the wagons and cut off from their comrades, fell victim to the swords of the foot troops or the missiles of the men and women who attacked them from above, from the wagons. The mounted troops fought outside the wagon stronghold but moved back in whenever the enemy threatened to overpower them, and they then fought dismounted as if from the walls of a fortified city. In this way they won many battles and gained victory. For the neighbouring peoples were not familiar with such combat methods, and Bohemia, with its broad and level fields, offers good opportunities to align carts and wagons, to spread them apart, and to bring them together again.

 

As soon as the battle signal was given, the drivers developed their movements against the enemy, according to certain figures or letters that had previosuly been indicated to them, and formed alleys which , well known to the Taborites, became a hopeless labyrinth to the enemy, from which he could find no exit and in which he was caught as in a net. if the enemies were broken up, cut off, and isolated in this manner, the foot troops easily completed their full defeat with their swords and flails, or the enemy was overcome by the marksmen standing on the wagons. Ziska's army was like a many-armed monster which unexpectedly and quickly seizes its prey, squeezes it to death, and swallows up its pieces. If individuals succeeded in escaping from the wagon maze, they fell into the hands of the horsemen drawn up outside and were killed there.

 

The Bohemians, among who you would find much level ground and few ditches, enclose their cavalry and infantry within wagons. Indeed, they assemble their armed men in these wagons as if on walls to keep off the enemy with missiles. When they begin battle, they make two flanks of these wagons and deploy them in proportion to the number of fighters and the requirements of locale. Covered in rear and on the flanks, they fight in front. Meanwhile, the wagon drivers gradually advance, and they attempt to surround and enclose the battle line of the enemy. After this has been done, they certainly gain the victory, since they strike the enemy from all sides. Also, the joining of the wagons is arranged with this craft - to be opened at the order of the commander, where and when he desires, either for flight or for pursuing the enemy as the situation will have demanded.

 

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