It was an event that sought to change the entire history of Europe, but it failed…and it
A massive army of 140,000 Islamic Turks under the command of Grand Vizier Kara
Mustafa, launched from Istanbul in 1683, beginning a march that swept unstoppable
across Europe. Their path of conquest suffered no defeats or even detours. Finally,
the army came upon the last great bastion that stood in their way; the walled city of
Vienna. If the Turks could take this fortress, chances were excellent that little else
remaining on the continent would slow them in their ultimate quest to conquer all of
Europe. Kara Mustafa would then accomplish his aim for a new Islamic empire with
himself as Sultan.
With an immense supply caravan to sustain them, the Turks patiently set up a huge
encampment and began their siege of the city on July 17th, 1683, content to seal off
the capital and wait for the opportune moment to attack.
By late August, Vienna’s resistance was weakening and become futile as supplies
dwindled. Unable to communicate with the rest of Europe, their hopes waned. On
September 1st, their plight shifted to desperation as a well-placed explosive by the
Turks destroyed a key portion of the outer wall. The invaders poured in and the
defenders retreated behind secondary fortifications.
Someone had to go for help. But who dared brave infiltrating and passing through the
vast entrenched hostile forces? A young Polish mercenary named Jerzy Kulczyski
stepped forward, volunteering to take the risk.
At dusk he began, quietly slipping outside the fortress. Artfully enacting the disguise of
a Turkish soldier, the Pole cunningly blended into the massive enemy encampment.
Adopting an air of nonchalance, he began his trek through the huge tent city that
sprawled out before him. Along the way he paused here and there, stopping to chat
amicably at various campfires with the soldiers. Occasionally he even took the time to
casually sit, eat and drink with them to dispel suspicion. At one cluster of soldiers,
Kulczyski made a slip of the tongue. His identity was challenged! Arab tempers flared
and wickedly-curved Turkish Scimitar blades drew down upon him. Thinking quickly,
Kulczyski smiled at his adversaries, continued sipping from his own cup and calmly
offered to pour them another drink. He invited them to sit and resume their casual
conversation as he confidently explained away the misunderstanding. Leaving on
friendly terms, he effortlessly moved on. Continuing through the night he subtly,
cautiously and steadily worked his way toward the outer edges, tent by tent, campfire
Eventually, just before dawn he plied his progress to the edge of the encampment and
slipped unseen into the dark forest beyond. Then, as swift as his legs would carry him,
he raced off to gain the help of his sovereign, King Jan Sobieski of Poland. Kulczyski
knew the king maintained a large military, plus carried alliances with the Bavarian army
for attacks such as this.
The morning of September 12th began with numerous explosions rocking and
destroying the inner city walls. The city faced certain annihilation as the attackers
began their final assault. The Turks started pouring through the gaps in the ruined
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