It changed the world more than any other single event in history. Mustafa cared only for his own career and freely used deceit and blackmail to make up for his lack of any real talent. They were met by improvised barriers and lines of pikemen, behind which Austrian musketeers poured volley after volley into the Janissary ranks, driving them out of the breach. I have no reason to suspect inaccuracies. Ibrahim and Mustafa’s forces, made up of cavalry, seymen peasant militia, and janissary infantry, were about 23,000 strong. Sobieski’s Polish cavalry and dragoons needed until 1 P. M. to traverse broken countryside as they approached the Ottoman left. Beside them, on their left, Abaza Sari Hüseyin Pasha, Beylerbeyi of Damascus, commanded the rest of the central line. Starhemberg very properly ordered the municipality to requisition cellars for the storage of powder. To the defenders on Vienna’s battered walls, Heissler’s fires and flares were like a sign from God that their prayers had finally been answered. Around 4 in the afternoon, Sobieski and Sieniawski reached the level terrain east of the Schafberg. In contrast to the offensive spirit of Mustafa, Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I (1658-1705) cowardly fled his own capital for the safety of Passau. More arrived on the following day, and on the 13th the mass of Leslie’s command completed their long journey from Györ; the great majority of his infantry regiments were sent over the river with the utmost despatch. Waldeck and Max Emmanuel, who had encountered little opposition, reached Ibrahim’s flank across the Krottenbach while Caprara and Lubomirski scattered the Romanians along the Danube. On December 25, 1683, while staying in the palace at Belgrade, the sultan’s emissaries executed the Grand Vizier by strangulation and sent his head to Constantinople. Forced to retreat they lost a third of their number. Yet the foremost Ottoman raiders now appeared, and in the distance the smoke of burning villages in the neighbourhood rose skywards. The Viennese replied with their more numerous wall and bastion cannon, but counter-battery and harassing fire against Ottoman sappers was severely limited by a shortage of powder and shot. When it was over, 10,000 Ottoman and Tatar dead lay in the fields, with more bodies strewn across abandoned siege lines around the city and in overrun camps. With F. Murray Abraham, Enrico Lo Verso, Jerzy Skolimowski, Alicja Bachleda. Determined to follow in the footsteps of the great Islamic conquerors of old, Mustafa had set out to overcome the barrier that once before, in 1529, blocked the westward advance of the Ottoman Turks: Vienna, capital of the Holy Roman Empire and of the Imperial dynasty, the House of Hapsburg.
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