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    REX POLONIAE Moderator KLAssurbanipal's Avatar
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    Dec 2006

    Default (1) First Units Preview: POLISH-LITHUANIAN COMMONWEALTH


    I created The Units Preview of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in the 18th century to mod European Wars (Rome Total War). This is a completely new version of the Polish units of the fraction compared to the beta version. Units are divided into two groups: the early 18th century (A) and the other half of that century (B). Their number is much higher than usual in mod EW, as many as 34 units. The player will have a wide variety of infantry and cavalry. In the early era units are characteristic of the 17th century, such as the winged hussars, pikemen, haiduks. In the age of the other, there will newer types of units such as grenadiers, hussars and the National Cavalry.
    All units have been reskinned again and their number was doubled. I tried to take care of the details of uniforms and armor so they are visible differences between early (like Louis XIV of France - uniforms longer, larger), and the late era (uniforms inspired by the tight-fitting Prussian uniforms). Soldiers have a variety of distinctive headgear and clothing details. Even the hairstyles are tailored to the periods and characteristics of units.
    Thank you for Lordz teams and Fire and Sword for lending some elements of textures and models for the 18th-century weaponry and uniforms.

    In the times of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (1569–1795), a banner of the Commonwealth was used, combining the heraldic symbols of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The Commonwealth banner was initially plain white emblazoned with the arms of the Commonwealth which consisted of the heraldic charges of Poland (White Eagle) and Lithuania (Pursuer). Since both Polish and Lithuanian coats of arms consisted of white (Argent) charges in a red (Gules) field, these two colors started to be used for the entire banner. During the 17th century, the banner was usually divided into two, three or four horizontal, often swallow-tailed, stripes of red and white.

    John III Sobieski, fighting protracted wars with the Ottoman Empire, revived the Commonwealth's military might once more, in process helping decisively in 1683 to deliver Vienna from a Turkish onslaught. From there, it all went downhill. The Commonwealth, subjected to almost constant warfare until 1720, suffered enormous population losses as well as massive damage to its economy and social structure. The government became ineffective because of large scale internal conflicts, corrupted legislative processes and manipulation by foreign interests. The nobility class fell under control of a handful of powerful families with established territorial domains, the urban population and infrastructure fell into ruin, together with most peasant farms. The reigns of two kings of the Saxon Wettin dynasty, Augustus II and Augustus III, brought the Commonwealth further disintegration. The Great Northern War, a period seen by the contemporaries as a passing eclipse, may have been the fatal blow destined to bring down the Noble Republic. The Kingdom of Prussia became a strong regional power and took Silesia from the Habsburg Monarchy. The Commonwealth-Saxony personal union however gave rise to the emergence of the reform movement in the Commonwealth, and the beginnings of the Polish Enlightenment culture.
    During the later part of the 18th century, the Commonwealth attempted fundamental internal reforms. The reform activity provoked hostile reaction and eventually military response on the part of the neighboring powers. The second half of the century brought improved economy and significant growth of the population. The most populous capital city of Warsaw replaced Danzig (Gdańsk) as the leading trade center, and the role of the more prosperous urban strata was increasing. The last decades of the independent Commonwealth existence were characterized by intense reform movements and far-reaching progress in the areas of education, intellectual life, art, and especially toward the end of the period, evolution of the social and political system. The royal election of 1764 resulted in the elevation of Stanisław August Poniatowski, a refined and worldly aristocrat connected to a major magnate faction, but hand-picked and imposed by Empress Catherine II of Russia, who expected Poniatowski to be her obedient follower. The King accordingly spent his reign torn between his desire to implement reforms necessary to save the state, and his perceived necessity of remaining in subordinate relationship with his Russian sponsors. The Bar Confederation of 1768 was a szlachta rebellion directed against Russia and the Polish king, fought to preserve Poland's independence and in support of szlachta's traditional causes. It was brought under control and followed in 1772 by the First Partition of the Commonwealth, a permanent encroachment on the outer Commonwealth provinces by the Russian Empire, the Kingdom of Prussia and Habsburg Austria. The "Partition Sejm" under duress "ratified" the partition fait accompli, but in 1773 also established the Commission of National Education, a pioneering in Europe government education authority.


    Information on specific types of soldiers

    Grenadiers were distinguished by their head-gear from the ordinary musketeers who made up the bulk of each regiment of foot. While there were some exceptions, the most typical grenadier headdress was either the mitre cap or the bearskin. Both began to appear in various armies during the second half of the 17th century because grenadiers were impeded by the wide brimmed infantry hats of the period when throwing grenades.
    The mitre cap, whether in stiffened cloth or metal, had became the distinguishing feature of the grenadier in the armies of Poland, Britain, Russia, Prussia and most German states during the late 17th and early 18th centuries. Spanish, Austrian and French grenadiers favoured high fur hats with long coloured cloth hoods ("bags") to them. The mitre was gradually replaced by bearskin hats in other armies.
    While Northern-European armies such as Poland, Britain, Russia, Sweden and various German states (perhaps most famously Prussia) wore the mitre cap, southern countries such as France, Spain, Austria, Portugal and various Italian states preferred the bearskin.

    Reiters (German: Reiter, or horserider, shortened from the original “Schwarze Reiter”—literally, "black riders") were a type of cavalry, which appeared in the armies of Western Europe in the 16th century in place of the outmoded lance-armed knights, at the same time that cuirassiers and dragoons began to attain typological distinction from other kinds of cavalry. The reiters raised firearms to the status of primary weapons, as opposed to earlier Western European heavy cavalry which primarily relied upon melée weapons.The reiter’s main weapons were two or more pistols and a sword; sometimes they also carried a long cavalry firearm known as an arquebus or a carbine.

    Winged Hussars:
    The Polish Hussars (Husaria) were the main type of cavalry of the first Polish Army, later also introduced into the Army of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, between the 16th and 18th centuries. When this cavalry type was first introduced by the Serbian mercenary horsemen around the year 1500, they served as light cavalry banners; by the second half of the 16th century hussars had been transformed into heavy cavalry. Until the reforms of 1770s the husaria banners or companies were considered the elite of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth cavalry. They were widely regarded as one of the most powerful cavalery formations in the world. Polish Hussars were undefeated in battle for over 100 years.
    The hussars were famous for their huge 'wings', a wooden frame carrying usually eagle, but sometimes ostrich, swan or goose feathers. The symbolism is connected with the Serbian origin. In the 16th century characteristic painted wings or winged claws began to appear on cavalry shields. Wings were originally attached to the saddle and later to the back. In 1645, Col. They wore the wings because they made a loud, clattering noise which made it seem like the cavalry was much larger than in reality. Unfortunately, the wings were very heavy and when the soldiers went into battle it proved to be strenuous.
    The hussars towarzysz were required to provide the arms and armour for themselves and their retainers, except for the lance which was provided by the King. Each lance's horses also came at each towarzysz husarski expense. Winged hussars during their heyday, 1574–1705, carried the following arms and armour:
    The kopia lance was the main offensive weapon of the hussar. The lances were based on the Balkan (Serbian) and finally Hungarian lances except the Polish lances could have been longer and, like their predecessors from the Balkans and Western Europe, they were hollowed, with two halves glued together and painted, and even often richly gilded. They were commonly made from fir-wood, with the lance point being made from forged steel. They had a gałka large wooden ball which served as the handle guard. The hussar's lance usually ranged from 4.5 to 6.20 meters in length. There was another type of lance was used, known as demi-lance or kopijka, that could have been 3-3,5 meter long and used against the Tatars and Turks of the later 17th century wars.
    The Towarzysz husarski carried underneath his left thigh a Eastern-in-origin koncerz estoc (up to 1,5 meter in length) and often under his right thigh a palasz (a type of broadsword). The szabla sabre was carried on the left side, and several types of sabres were known to winged hussars, including the famous szabla husarska.
    At the height of their prowess, 1576-1653 hussar armor consisted of a szyszak Oriental Turkic-in-origin helmet later developed into Polish variety with hemispherical skull, comb like Western morion 'cheekpieces' with a heart-shaped cut in the middle, neck guard of several plates secured by sliding rivets, and adjustable nasal terminating in a leaf-shaped visior. Shishak and kettle hat helmets for lower rank (retainers) were often blackened as well was their armor. A cuirass (breast plate), back plate, gorget, shoulder guards and of the Great Steppe, Western vambraces with iron glove and later during the 1630s the Persian origin karwasz vambrace that was a forearm protection. Towarzysz also could wear tasset hip, cuisse thigh and poleyn knee protection, underneath a thigh length coat of mail or specially padded coat with mail sleeves. Retainers usually wore less expensive and older armor, often painted black, and after 1670s might have no cuirass, according to some sources. Karacena Sarmatian armor (of iron scales riveted to a leather support), might have consisted of scale helmet, cuirass, gorget, legs and shoulder protection, became popular during the reign of king Jan Sobieski, but perhaps due to costs and weight remained popular mostly with the winged hussar commanding officers. Their armor was light, usually around 15 kg, allowing them to be relatively quick and for their horses to gallop at full speed for long periods. Albeit during the 1670s onwards chain-mail was used when fighting the Tatars in the southern part of the republic. Towarzysz usually wore a leopard (sometimes tiger, jaguar, lion) pelt over his left shoulder, or as often depicted in the surviving Podhorce Castle paintings he had the exotic pelt underneath his saddle or wrapped around his hips. Whereas wolf, brown bear and lynx pelts were reserved for leaders and veterans (starszyzna).

    Towarzysz pancerny ("armoured companion"; plural: towarzysze pancerni, or pancerni ) was a medium-cavalryman in 16th-18th century Poland, named for his chainmail armor ("pancerz"). These units were the second-most-important cavalry arm in the Polish Army, after the Hussars.
    Most pancerni were recruited from the middle or lower classes of szlachta (nobility). They were organized into companies (singular: chorągiew pancerna) of 60-200 horsemen.
    In the medieval times, during Mieszko I and Bolesław I Chrobry rules, pancerni were members of prince own force, as they only in whole army wore mail armours.

    The word dragoon originally meant mounted infantry, who were trained in horse riding as well as infantry fighting skills. However, usage altered over time and during the 18th century, dragoons evolved into conventional light cavalry units and personnel. Dragoon regiments were established in most European armies during the late 17th century and early 18th century. The name is possibly derived from a type of firearm (called a dragon) carried by dragoons of the French Army. There is no distinction between the words dragon and dragoon in French. The title has been retained in modern times by a number of armoured or ceremonial mounted regiments.
    Regiments of Polish dragoons:
    * Regiment Gwardii Konnej Koronnej
    * Regiment Konny im. Królowej
    * Regiment Konny im. Królewicza
    * Regiment Konny Buławy Wielkiej Koronnej
    * Regiment Konny Buławy Polnej Koronnej
    Regiments of Lithuanian dragoons:
    * Regiment Gwardii Konnej Wielkiego Księstwa Litewskiego
    * Regiment Dragonów Królewicza Imci Wielkiego Księstwa Litewskiego
    * Regiment Konny Buławy Wielkiej Litewskiej
    * Regiment Konny Buławy Polnej Litewskiej

    National Cavalry
    The National Cavalry (Kawaleria Narodowa) was a branch of Polish-Lithuanian cavalry in the Polish armed forces in the last quarter of the 18th century. Formed as a merger of previously-existing units of Polish Hussars and pancerni that were still in service after the Confederation of Bar. In 1777 the Sejm new regulations converted all units of heavy cavalry and medium cavalry and reformed them into a line cavalry, roughly similar to later uhlans popular in Europe in 19th century. Existing dragoon and Front or Vanguard Regiments were outside this reform The National Cavalry had a very short history of 20 years, and some units stationed in the eastern Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth were forcibly incorporated into the Russian cavalry following the Second Partition of Poland, and the remainder was disbanded together with the rest of Polish-Lithuanian armed forces after the final partition in 1795. The Sejm's 1777 decision was rather late effort to modernize Polish-Lithuanian cavalry, along the much earlier trend of evolution of European cavalry towards more modern organization of the cavalry regiments into more mobile formations. The most modern part of the reform was the establishment of some very modern battle dress uniforms for these cavalrymen, and in turn this uniform of the National Cavalry inspired numerous similar uniforms and employment of 'Polish lance' in the rest of Europe, notably the Austrian, Prussian, Russian cavalry, and later of the French cavalry of the Napoleonic Wars.

    The variety of headgear of Polish soldiers in the 18th century:



    A) Early period

    1. Officer:

    2. Musketeer:

    3. Grenadier:

    4. Guard grenadier:

    5. Guard Janissary:

    6. Hungarian light infantry:

    7. Pikeman:

    8. Drummer:

    B) Late period

    9. Musketeer (Regiment Pieszy Buławy Wielkiej Koronnej):

    10. Musketeer (Regiment Gwardii Pieszej Koronnej):

    11. Grenadier (Regiment Pieszy Łanowy):

    12. Guard grenadier (Regiment Gwardii Pieszej Koronnej):

    13. Guard grenadier (Regiment Gwardii Pieszej Litewskiej):

    14. Hungarian light infantry:

    15: Gunner:


    A) Early period

    16. Officer:

    17. Dragoon:

    18. Reiter:

    19. Arquebusier:

    20. Elite arquebusier:

    21. Guard dragoon:

    22. Trabant:

    23. Winged Hussar:

    24: Pancerny:

    25. Cossack Cavalry:

    26. Tatar archer:

    B) Late period

    27. Dragoon:

    28. Horse grenadier of Freicorps:

    29. Horse Guard:

    30. Saxon guard cuirassier:

    31. National Cavalry:

    32. Hussar:

    33. Trumpeter:


    34. General, early 18th century:


    King Louise Assurbanipal: previews creator; chief modeler and skinner
    Lordz: some elements of textures & models
    Ogniem i Mieczem: some elements of textures & models
    Wikipedia: information about the Polish army and history
    Last edited by KLAssurbanipal; 07-14-2011 at 07:29.


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