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POLISH-LITHUANIAN COMMONWEALTH

Historical Overview

The military of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth evolved from the merger of the armies of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania following the 1569 Union of Lublin, which formed the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. The army was commanded by the Hetmans of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. The most unique formation of the army was the heavy cavalry in the form of the Polish winged hussars.

Due to lack of centralized logistical system, the Polish armies were encumbered by large baggage trains. To some degree, this was turned into an advantage with the development of the tabor – military horse-drawn wagons, usually carrying army supplies. The wagon use for defensive formations was perfected by the Cossacks, and to a smaller extent used by other Commonwealth units.

The Commonwealth army relied on cavalry, which the nobility saw as a much more respectable type of a troop than the infantry. The Polish cavalry was seen as an elite unit in Europe, and the fame of Polish hussars has spread, particularly following their victories in the Polish-Swedish wars of the 1600s–1620s. Despite the reforms of the 17th century, it lost much of its military significance in the 18th century; the primary reason for this was a lack of sufficient funding

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Created by admin. Last Modification: Sunday 14 of April, 2013 16:29:08 BST by admin. (Version 1)

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