Military regulations

I intend to share a few military regulations from the period of Ottoman wars, here is the first one:

The Regulation of Esterházy Pál in 1672

On the 4th of October in 1672 a military decree was issued by Esterházy Pál, the chief captain of the mining district of the Kingdom of Hungary. 

Esterházy Pál
In 1672, with the help of Prince Apafi Mihály, the dismissed exiles, fugitive Protestants, and nobles who had fled to Transylvania, the so-called Fugitives, launched their first attack against the Kingdom of Hungary. In the autumn of 1672, Esterházy Pál mobilized the Fülek garrison against the Kuruc troops. On October 4, the chief captain of the mining district issued a general instruction for the conduct of soldiers and officers, based on which Koháry István had to prepare an edict for his own army.
Koháry István
In the first lines of the document, Koháry made it clear that obedience had to be maintained since both the soldiers under contract and the soldiers who were free to make a contract (the so-called ” free lads “) had been paid their wages, and as long as they were in camp, their food, lodging, and horse supplies would be provided, so there was no reason for the soldiers to rebel or to live in the villages.
Fülek in 1664
– The first point strictly forbids any swearing, cursing, or blasphemy, as such behavior would bring the wrath of God upon the army and could jeopardize the success of the campaign. Those caught the first time will be flogged, but those caught red-handed the second time will be court-martialed.
Hajdú soldiers plunder the peasants
– The second point mandates obedience to the leaders. Anyone who disobeys his superior will be whipped, and anyone who attacks his superior will be executed. Anyone who fails his superior in battle will also be punished by death. Koháry István appointed Oláh János and Komáromi István as his lieutenants so that the troops owe their obedience to these two officers in case of trouble. The captain-general also said that every corporal would be responsible for his own 10 men and would be accountable for them.

– The third point emphasizes the need to pay attention to the bugle signals and to the behavior in the column. The soldier should not lag behind his own unit, because the troop leader will beat him and will also be punished.
Dancing Hajdú soldiers
– The fourth point forbade the harassment of the civilian population and the plundering of the peasantry and punished the offender with caning in the first instance and court martial in the second. To reduce the number of acts of violence against the population, the order also provided for the punishment of the soldier who did not report the offense. Any soldier who wanted something should not take it by force but should report it to his superior officer, who would see that the wish was fulfilled as far as possible.
Dancing Hajdú soldiers
– According to the fifth point, quarrels and fights in the camp were strictly forbidden and punishable by caning. The same point also provided for duels: as in the castle, here too, whether in the camp or on the march, a man was severely punished, the first time with 300 strokes of the cane, “…and if he does not learn by this and is found doing so in the future, half his hand shall be cut off…”.
Hajdú soldiers
– The sixth point of the regulation related to conduct during the battle alarm. Once the order of battle had been established, no one should leave his troop, gallop around, and stay close to his leader to protect him. Anyone who fled out of cowardice would lose honor in the eyes of his troops and even receive the death penalty.
Dancing Hajdú soldiers
– As a seventh point, Koháry listed the “monstrous offenses for which immediate death was the punishment: plundering churches, raping women, attacking men and wagons delivering food to the camp, taking their cattle and cargo.”

Source: Szibler Gábor


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