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Article: Zrinski


Nikola Šubić Zrinski was born in 1508 in Zrin, Croatia. He was a member of the minor nobility. By his 21st birthday, when the rest of us were hitting every bar trying to get laid, he made a name for himself at the Siege of Vienna of 1529 (this deserves its own Warrior Wednesday post cus its about 21,000 defenders vs 125,000 Ottomans in total balls out warfare) as a man who was extremely good at stabbing Turkish faces with his saber. 

In 1542 He and his trusty 400 Croatian knights came out of left field and Buttf*cked the Otto-Turks to death at the Battle of Pest and again at the Battle of Somlyo. He saved the entire Imperial army and as a result was promoted the Ban of Croatia. (A Ban is like a mix of a Governor and a Division Commander)By 1562 Zrinski further punished Ottoman's in multiple other battles. And he lived happily and wealthily with a fuck-ton of kids and a totally hot Boehmian Countess wife.

All that ended in 1566 when Suleiman the Magnificent, the Ottoman ruler and chief testicle smasher of Turkey, decided he wanted to invade and pillage Europe one more time. He led an Army of over 150,000 Turk, Magyar, and Moldovians and laid siege to Szigetvár Fortress. Defending the Fortress was Zrinski at the head of roughly 2,300 men made up of his personal forces, his close allies and friends. Szigetvár was divided into 3 sections by water: the old town, the new town & the castle. each section was connected by a bridge. Zrinski planned to make the Ottomans pay for every inch of land with their blood and slowly fight his way back to the final redoubt within the Fortress. The defenders held the Outer walls for almost a month. Day after day Turkish artillery would bombard defenders while Turkish infantry attacked in massive charges to try and capture the walls. Eleven times the Turks attacked the walls. Eleven times they were thrown back increasingly desperate fights.

The 12th push was by far the most devastating. Under sustained artillery fire and firebombs, the outer walls were destroyed. Zrinski ordered his men to abandon the outer walls and fall back to the inner Redoubt. The forces of Suleiman the Magnificent tore through the outer defenses in a raging flood of muskets and bloody sabers. They set fire to the city and hurling fire bombs into the inner keep. Zrinski ran from position to position, pumping his men up, and any time the turks breached the inner walls they were met by a determined unit of Croat and Hungarian warriors fighting with desperate determination. Through the smoke of firebombs and gunpowder, Zrinski's men not only held out, but pushed back the Ottoman-Turks briefly. This latest assault cost The defenders dearly though. There were only about 600 men left and many of these survivors were wounded and left without food, water, or medical aid.

By September 8, 1566, all hope for the defenders seemed lost. Thousands of Ottomans, including the elite Janissaries, were camped inside the city just waiting to be released to wreak bloody murder on the defenders.

It was at this point that Nikola Zrinski decided he would not sit back and wait for the Turks. He gathered up his remaining men and said:

“...Let us go out from this burning place into the open and stand up to our enemies. Whoever dies, will be with God. Whoever dies not, his name will be honoured forever. I will go first, and what I do, you do. And God as my witness I will never leave you, my brothers and knights.”

Zrinski did not allow the final assault to break the castle. As the Turks assaulted a narrow bridge, the defenders suddenly flung open the gate and fired their last mortar at zero elevation, loaded with scraps of broken weapons and armor, killing hundreds of attackers. Then Zrinski ordered a charge and led his remaining 600 troops out of the castle. It was the stuff of Heroic Legend. For a brief moment the charge of Zrinski’s 600 stopped the tide of the Elite Janissaries He received two musket wounds in his chest and was killed shortly afterwards by an arrow to the head. The Turkish ruler had Zrinski's head chopped off because he was so angry that such a small force held up his army for so long. However a Turkish officer, who admired Zrinski's courage treated his body with respect and buried it.

Nearly every single defender died alongside Zrinski on that battlefield. Only seven were captured, but they were treated with respect and admiration by the Turks for their batshit levels of bravery and loyalty.

When the smoke cleared and the fighting ceased, the Turks had captured the Fortress, although at devastating cost.

Zrinski, had one more card to play against these invaders of his homeland. One of his wounded men waited inside the basement of the castle for the Turks to storm the undefended keep to pillage the valuables and riches. As the castled filled with looters, the wounded man used a torch the light up the keep's entire supply of gunpowder inside the powder magazine. The entire keep exploded like a JDAM.

Thousands of Turkish soldiers for killed.

I imagine Zrinski was flipping them the bird from the afterlife as they got blown the fuck up.

The Ottomans lost over 30,000 men in that single siege. The said "fuck this" and got beat feet. They wouldn't be back for thirty years.

The moral of the story is if you know you're going to lose and there's nothing you can do about it, you make your who beat you earn that win. You make it so goddamn hard that they don't want to continue after you. If you got to go down, you go down swinging.

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