The Siege of Vienna.
The year was 1683 AD, and for the past 300 years, the Christian Holy Roman Empire and the Muslim Ottoman Empire had been locked in deadly struggle.
But now, the end of that struggle was at hand.
Kara Mustafa Pasha, one of the Sultan’s most feared commanders, was to bring that end. In the summer of 1683, he led 140,000 men against the last bastion of Christendom, capital of the house of Hapsburg, the final bulwark between the Muslim hordes and Europe… Vienna.
On 14 July, the Ottomans laid siege to the city. Trenches were built, food supplies were cut off, and 130 cannon started pounding the city. With only 15,000 defenders, the jewel of the Holy Roman Empire seemed doomed. By September, large portions of the city walls were already in ruins, and the remaining defenders readied themselves to fight to the last man.
But the battle wasn’t over yet.
For another army was approaching the beleaguered city. But no Ottoman crescent moon flew from its banners.
For this army’s banners flew the red-and-white stripes of the Polish Commonwealth, the black eagle of the Holy Roman Empire, and the cross of Christianity. Over 80,000 German and Polish troops, under the command of the Polish king, John III Sobieski, was marching to the city’s aid.
The relief force arrived on the 11th of September, and battle was joined on the 12th. The German and Polish infantry engaged the Ottomans, and while they were making good headway, Ottoman troops had entered Vienna. If the city fell, then all was lost.
And then came the cavalry.
At 6pm on the evening of the 12th, 18,000 horsemen lined up on the hill facing the Ottoman army. King Sobieski himself was at their head, with over 3,000 of the Polish Winged Hussars, the finest cavalry in Europe. Over a 100,000 Ottomans lay at the bottom of the hill waiting for them.
As the allied army cheered, and the Ottomans quailed at the sight of these armoured titans, the Hussars said their prayers to the Almighty, readied their lances, and charged.
In what was one of the largest cavalry charges in history, the Hussars completely shattered the Ottoman lines. As they carved through the horde’s ranks like a hot knife through butter, the defenders of Vienna let out a cheer and sallied out from the city, taking the Ottomans in the rear. With the Hussars at their front, and the vengeful Austrians behind, the Ottomans broke in disorder, fleeing the field and leaving the battlefield to the allies.
The Ottomans retreated to their own lands, and the victorious allies retook most of the European lands lost to the foe. The Ottomans never again would threaten Europe.
Vienna, Europe, and indeed Christendom itself, was saved.
So, the last bastion of a dying empire is besieged by the hordes of an alien foe, with the future of its people hanging in the balance. Just when all seems lost, allies appear out of the blue, and with a devastating cavalry charge, save the day and end the enemy threat forever.
Who will come to the aid of Europe now? Why would they even bother, when Europe has clearly given up the fight.