Winged Hussars Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth & Traditional War Song

When you hear that the Turks are on the way to the gates of Vienna.


Battle of Vienna

The Hussars were famous for their huge „wings”, a wooden frame carrying eagle, ostrich, swan or goose feathers. In the 16th century, characteristic painted wings or winged claws began to appear on cavalry shields. The most common theory is that the hussars wore the wings because they made a loud, clattering noise which made it seem like the cavalry was much larger than in reality and frightened the enemy’s horses. Other possibilities included the wings being made to defend the backs of the men against swords and lassos, or that they were worn to make their own horses deaf to the wooden noise-makers used by the Ottoman and the Crimean Tatars. It seems that the wing was used not to let horse get exhausted–run too fast, making repeated charges possible.

Initially the first hussar units in the Polish-Lihuanian Commonwealth were formed by the parliament in 1503, which hired three banners of Hungarian mercenaries. Soon, recruitment also began among locals. Being far more expendable than the heavily armoured lancers of the Renaissance, the Serbian-Hungarian hussars played a fairly minor role in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth victories during the early 16th century, exemplified by the victories at Orsza (1514).

The true „winged hussar” arrived with the reforms of the King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania Stephen Bathory in the 1570s and was later led by the King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania John III Sobieski. The hussars were the leading, or even elite, branch of cavalry in the Polish army from the 1570s until 1776, when their duties and traditions were passed on to the Uhlans by a parliamentary decree. Most hussars were recruited from the wealthier nobility (szlachta).

When Bathory was elected King of Poland and later accepted as a Grand Duke of Lithuania in 1576, he reorganized the hussars of his Royal Guard into a heavy formation equipped with a long lance as their main weapon.


Oh, dear rowan tree, where have you been growing in the midst of the swamps?

Where have you been growing in the midst of the swamps, in the green moss?

Oh, dear mother, what have you raised me up for?
What have you raised me up for and conscripted me to a war?
Conscripted me to a war and have forged me three trumpets?
He trumpeted the first trumpet as he was riding off from the inner yard
He trumpeted the second trumpet as he was riding off from the outer yard
He trumpeted the third trumpet as he was joining the troops
My horse pranced and all the troops looked at me
And all the army had turned to me
And a troop of Swedes has come, a troop of brave ones
When we’ve stood in the field, we’ve knocked all the Swedes out
Our Chodkewicz was very strong, he was a real king

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Oi šermukšnio šermukšnio kur tu augai tarp balių,
Ei ei ajajaj, kur tu augai tarp balių?
Kur tu augai tarp balių, tarp šių žalių samanų,
Ei ei ajajaj, tarp šių žalių samanų?
Oi motuše motuše, kam tu mane auginai,
Ei ei ajajaj, kam tu mane auginai?
Kam tu mane auginai ir in vaiską užrašei,
Ei ei ajajaj ir in vaiską užrašei?
Ir in vaiską užrašei ir tris triūbas nukalei,
Ei ei ajajaj ir tris triūbas nukalei?
Pirmą triūbą triūbijo ir kiemelio išjodams,
Ei ei ajajaj, iš kiemelio išjodams.
Antrą triūbą triūbijo per atšlaimą jodamas,
Ei ei ajajaj, per atšlaimą jodamas.
Trečią triūbą triūbijo, prie vaiskelio pristojęs,
Ei ei ajajaj, prie vasikelio pristojęs.
Man’ žirgelis sužvingo, visas vaiskas sužiūro,
Ei ei ajajaj, visas vaiskas sužiūro.
Ir sužiūro sužiūro, kariuomenė į mane,
Ei ei ajajaj, kariuomenė į mane.
Ir atein žuvėdų pulks, žuvėdų pulks narsiųjų,
Ei ei ajajaj, žuvėdų pulks narsiųjų.
Kai ant plečiaus sustojom, žuvėdus iškapojom,
Ei ei ajajaj, žuvėdus iškapojom.
Mūsų Katkus labai drūts, tikras buvo karaliuks,
Ei ei ajajaj, tikras buvo karaliuks.

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