This blog post describes the start of my 1620s Polish and Lithuanian Commonwealth army with the famous Polish ‘Winged’ Hussars. This post will cover: little bit of historical background, my purchase of some figures, and the preparation of the figures for painting.
|Battle of Kircholm 1605, by Wojciech Kossak|
“First advanced the hussar squadron of the marshal himself, well armoured, and so imposing that any king might be proud of such troops. Only nobles of the mountains served in this squadron, chosen men of equal size; their armor was of bright squares inlaid with bronze, gorgets with the image of the Most Holy Lady of Chenstohova, round helmets with steel rims, crests on the top, and at the side wings of eagles and vultures, on their shoulders tiger and leopard skins, but on the officers wolf skins, according to custom.” From ‘The Deluge’ by Henryk Seinkiewicz
|Hussar formation at the Battle of Klushino (1610), painting by Szymon Boguszowicz, 1620|
“Of these horsmen, some are called Hussari, who are armed with long speares, a shield, a Carbine or short gunn, and two short swords, one by the horsmans syde, the other fastned vnder the left syde of his sadle.” Fynes Moryson describes the Polish cavalry in the 1590s.
|Helion’s new title on the Polish army in the 1620s.|
|My first excited purchases of Polish Winged Hussars - Warlord, TAG and Foundry.|
- Exact equipment would have varied to some degree in each company, or ‘banner’ of Hussars. A Rotmistrz was responsible for the recruitment of each Hussar banner. The nobles recruited in to the Hussars were known as ‘companions’. Each companion brought a retinue of followers, who would have formed the rear ranks of the banner in battle. The companions lavished their wealth on luxurious equipment and also equipped their retainers. So, some variety in the figures used to represent my miniature banners, would feel right.
- The best equipped Hussars had back and breast plate armour (often with strips of plates), a helmet with nose guard and ‘lobster’ style neck guard, and chain mail sleeves with chain mail thigh protection.
- The Hussars would wear cloaks, with the best equipped having animal pelts such as leopard, wolf, or even tiger.
- The Hussars’ most striking piece of equipment was the ‘wings’ of vulture or eagle feathers. However there is a lot of uncertainty about how these were shaped and worn, how they evolved over time, and whether they were worn in particular battles at all. I have chosen to represent wings as attached to the rear of the saddles, and being worn singularly, sometimes in pairs, or not at all by the poorer Hussars.
- The Hussars iconic weapon was the long lance. This was longer than the typical lance used in the west, and had a distinctive ball shaped guard above the grip. The painted lances, with their long colourful pennons, were probably distinct for each banner of Hussars.
|Polish Hussars from Warlord Games. Brass lances much appreciated!|
|Polish Hussars from The Assault Group.|
|Foundry Polish Hussars and cavalry command.|
- Foundry horses, with a mix of Foundry and TAG riders.
- TAG horses, with a mix of Foundry and TAG riders.
- Warlord horse and riders. (The Warlord units will be slightly anachronistic, but they are just too nice to leave out!)
|Some simple conversion work to move the wings to be saddle mounted rather than than on the riders’ backs.|
|Small beads added to brass 80mm ‘lances’.|