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An extract from Armies of the Middle Ages, Volume 2
by Ian Heath


One further type of foot-soldier to appear in 15th century Hungarian or more specifically Transylvanian armies under Janos Hunyadi was the peasant volunteer or crusader, repeatedly mentioned in particular in many contemporary chronicles of the 1440s and 1450s. The 'Historia Boemica' says that only a third of these were or became competent at handling arms, the remainder fighting instead with typical peasant weapons of sling and scythe. Giovanni di Tagliacozzo also wrote that those present at Belgrade in 1456 were armed with swords, stakes, slings, clubs, stone-throwers (stone-bows?), bows, and iron hooks to unhorse the Ottoman cavalry, but mentions that some (presumably amongst those trained up by Hunyadi) had handguns firing lead bullets. In Hungary itself serfs armed with scythes and other agricultural implements performed sterling service against Bohemian invaders and routed Ottomans alike in 1465 and 1479.

Next: 92. HUNGARIAN MAN-AT-ARMS c. 1445 in Armies of the Middle Ages, Volume 2 by Ian Heath

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