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By Andrew Wheatcroft

In 1683, an Ottoman military that stretched from horizon to horizon got down to grab the “Golden Apple,” as Turks observed Vienna. the resultant siege pitted battle-hardened Janissaries wielding seventeenth-century grenades opposed to Habsburg armies, commonly feared for his or her savagery. The partitions of Vienna bristled with weapons because the besieging Ottoman host introduced bombs, fired cannons, and showered the population with arrows through the conflict for Christianity’s bulwark. either side was once sustained through the hatred of its age-old enemy, definite that victory will be gained by means of the grace of God.

The nice Siege of Vienna is the center-piece for historian Andrew Wheatcroft’s richly drawn portrait of the centuries-long contention among the Ottoman and Habsburg empires for keep an eye on of the ecu continent. A gripping paintings via a grasp historian, The Enemy on the Gate deals a well timed exam of an epic conflict of civilizations.

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Those have been new timbers hammered deep into the earth and strongly buttressed by way of cross-beams. Ottoman artillery may well blow away a ‘RISE U P, R I S E U P, Y E C H R I S T I A N S ’ 143 part, however it should be quick repaired and changed. by the point the charging janissaries reached the fence, their impetus used to be slowing within the previous few yards. there has been no flat floor the place they can position scaling ladders, no house for his or her males to mass sooner than the wood rampart. reviews of these first attacks and the facts of his personal eyes made the Grand Vizier recognize that this financial institution of earth and line of stakes was once as bold a disadvantage because the nice partitions of the most defences of town, nearly 40 toes in peak. The palisade was once too strongly defended to be rushed; it's going to must be besieged and undermined part by way of part, just like the urban in the back of it. All this could take time. The Ottoman strains reached the palisade on sixteen July; ten days later it had nonetheless no longer been crushed. After the 1st attacks have been pushed again with large losses, the Ottoman engineers started the slower activity of digging lower than the fence and exploding nice mines under the palisade in an try and holiday via. yet nonetheless the attack failed. The mines exploded making a large mound of sentimental earth and an exceptional pit, however the Ottoman infantry have been pushed off over again through ‘Count Sereni (Serenyi) and St Croy Lieutenant Colonel of the Regiment of Dupigni coming to [our men’s] Succour, with 100 clean males armed with Granadoes; quickly they acquired the higher of the Turks and removing a lot of their Heads, fastened them at the Stakes and Palisadoes at the counterscarp in sight of the Enemy’. 28 3 weeks after the start of the 1st assault, within the first week of August, the Ottomans have been nonetheless desperately trying to holiday throughout the outer line. via five August, they'd equipped earth mounds on each side in their attack saps in order that they have been larger than the palisade. From those increased positions they can now shoot down directly to the musketeers protecting it; then the Turks moved their artillery ahead in a focused bombardment of the palisade, and, for the 1st time, waves of janissaries additionally armed with grenades controlled to push throughout during the open house within the wood rampart to the sting of the trench 16 ft under. And so, on 7 August, the twenty-fifth day of the siege, Kara Mustafa’s males had damaged in the course of the first challenge. because the first Turks entrenched themselves within the ground of the trench, they stared up on the major defences of town that now towered above them, bristling with weapons. to every aspect so far as they can see there have been sizeable brick partitions; within the ditch earlier than them there have been trenches full of musketeers, 144 T H E E N E M Y AT T H E G AT E and in the back of them, on the foot of the bastion and the curtain wall, strongpoints with gentle artillery items that coated the useless zones the place the weapons above couldn't. during this slender quadrangle, pockmarked with trenches, excavations and deep craters made by way of bombs dropped from the ramparts above, the 2 armies duelled for the survival of Christendom’s bulwark.

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