A most remarkable army.. Kuruc 1703-1711

An Osprey style compilation of Kuruc forces on the march mixing phases of its existence

The by ways of the late 17th century and early 18th provide magnificently juicy brain food for wargamers. Although I had in passing, read about the Kuruc Rebellion in Hungary during the first decade of the 18th century I had gone no further than a quick skim of what it was all about.

During the compilation of material for the new GNW Supplement for Beneath the Lily Banners, I did a little more digging and was delighted with the gaming possibilities. This post focuses on the Kuruc forces and how gamers may be tempted as a side project, to construct a Kuruc table top army.

This compilation shot shows Tatars, Poles, Bulgarians, Ottomans, French and Swedes on the Kuruc march...

Rákóczi Ferenc was a Hungarian noble who fought to free his country from Habsburg rule during the first decade of the 18th century. France, at war with the Grand Alliance in the War of the Spanish Succession, recognized the weakness of the Austrian position and helped fund Rákóczi. The fortunes of the Hungarian rebels known as Kurucs were mixed. Several battles were fought. The armies were some of the most eclectic of the period. Danish regiments in Imperial service saw significant action having transferred from the army serving on the Danube. It is likely these were from the infantry and cavalry regiments which fought at Blenheim.

German mercenary and French auxiliary battalions formed a more conventional element of the Kuruc army.

At the Battle of Zsibó in 1705 an Austrian-Danish-Serbian army of 16,000 fought a similar sized force composed of Kurucs, French and Transylvanians. The rebellion was eventually crushed. 

19th century map of the Battle of Zsibo, November 11, 1705

Here is a YouTube link, clearly a Hungarian production and not an Austrian one! Interesting view of the conflict which lasted for eight years from 1703-1711.

Hungarian re enactor documentary

Another useful link with re enactors focusing on the dress and behaviours of the Kurucs and their leaders;

Hungarian battle scene - Kurucs v Austrians

Wonderful Battle of St Gotthard animation 1664

The St Gotthard Pass video is of course earlier but too good a find not to share. Could have been made for a wargaming audience.

Peasants, Poles, Ruthenian and Ottoman units in the Kuruc army.

A Kuruc army offers an absolutely mouthwatering combination of troop types including Kurucs, Hungarian Protestant peasants, Ruthenians, Transylvanians, Poles, Slavs, French, German mercenaries, Habsburg renegades, Swedish survivors from Poltava, Ottomans, Crimean Tatars, and Bulgarians.

The western style of dress will have prevailed amongst the French, German, Habsburg renegade and Swedish troops serving with Rákóczi Ferenc's army. 

The eastern European and steppe based elements of the army will have provided a colourful and exotic flavour fusing a rainbow spectrum from the uniforms of Versailles to the clothing of the Anatolian heartlands and the Crimea in a single tabletop force.

What more do you need... get painting!