lemiru: Balthier is a gentleman ([Amelie - Pin])
äuä de scho ([personal profile] lemiru) wrote2009-05-13 01:52 pm

(no subject)

Originally posted @ [livejournal.com profile] austro_swiss

For posterity and archiving's sake, and I like having this stuff in my journal. So there, try to stop me.

On November the 15th 1315, 9000 austrian knights went against 1500 Swiss peasants. And lost. This is their story.

I'd like to appologize in advance if Austria comes over as too much of a troll. It took him some time to get his manners, you see. Ok, so that's just a lame excuse, I totally fail at characterization, that's all.

Once upon a time, there were two countries. I'm not going to get into how they got there, that'd be too long, so just imagine some Roma-jii and Germania shenanigans. Oh, and Hungary, too.
Anyway. Two little countries.

Well, they weren't really countries yet, but they were trying really hard to become real countries. And by trying, they hit puberty grew up!

But, despite growing up right next to each other, they took very different paths and developed different hobbies.

Austria rapidly began to grow some knights and noble families. One of these families, the Habsburg, would later become one of the most affluent dynasties in Europe for many centuries.

Switzerland embraced a life of peasantry. At this point, the 'country' was still just the 'Waldstätten (forest communities)', composed of Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden, the founding nucleus of what would become the Old Swiss Confederacy. They had a special Status in the Holy Roman Empire, the so called Imperial Immediacy, meaning that they were under the direct authority of the Emperor, and thus benefited of a certain independence.

This becomes important later. But back to our duo.

All in all, they began to grow apart, but were still cool with each other. They were both part of the Holy Roman Empire, after all.


1273, Rudolf I, a Habsburg, became Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, and as such, he began to reorganize things a little.

Among other things, he began to apoint reeves to take care of the different localities, and lo and behold, he sent out a reeve to take care of the Waldstätten, as well. The problem was that those reeves were considered to be representatives of the Habsburg, and not of the Empire, which was kind of not fly with the whole Imperial Immediacy deal mentioned above.

The Waldstätten actually really liked that whole Imp. Immediacy thing they had going on. The Habsburg, however, did not want to hear word about it.

One of the main points of interest was the St. Gotthard Pass, a handy-dandy ass pass between the Empire and Italy, great for trade, and located in the Waldstätten.

Of course, the Waldstätten were not ready to part with their semi-freedom, and this was the begin of the Swiss Habsburger Wars, that would last until 1474/1511.

In this first phase, there was no direct confrontation, though.
Austria went into Belarus mode threw down all of Switzerland's friends and isolated him by blocking the roads.

Switzerland killed a bunch of people and burned Austria's stuff down.


Around that time, there were inner struggles for the crown between the big Houses of the Empire, and each non-Habsburg King made sure to recognize the Swiss Federal Chart and the Imperial Immediacy, just to be dicks towards Austria, because that's how politics work.

UNTIL! Henry VII came along. Henry made peace with the Habsburg and went all buddy-buddy with them and promised to look into the matter of their claims on the Waldstätten.

Switzerland wasn't really pleased about that and began an epic bitchfight. Like, loudly taking sides of the non-Habsburg candidate for the crown at Henry's death, which, in turn, didn't please the House of H at all.

The bitchfight then expanded and began to revolve mainly around the Abby of Einsiedeln, that was more or less autonomous and under direct patronage of the Habsburg.

You see, the Swiss had one major problem: The geography kind of sucked and the main arable lands of Schwyz were part of the abbey.

So, just because, the Swiss kind of didn't care about the whole 'autonomous' thing (way to be hypocrites) and began to cultivate on the abbey's lands, leading to the abbey whining to Austria.

The Swiss still didn't care. In 1314 Schwyz actually attacked Einsiedeln after the Abby managed to get them excommunicated. This attack triggered a series of border raids that led to the Austrian invasion.

The battle of Morgarten took place on the 15th November 1315. 9000 austrian knights went against 1500 Swiss peasants.
And lost.
This is their story. *cue law and order sound*

Actually, it's quickly explained why they lost: the Austrians actually didn't really expect a battle. What they had expected was a raid against a bunch of rebelling peasants.
Those punitive strike-outs were quite common in these days and usually meant that knights would fall into the villages, burn them down and steal the livestock.

Back then, it sounded like a good idea. And they would have WON, too, if not for a little detail.
You see, the knights had a very strict code of honor and battles were fought by certain rules. One of the rules said that both parties were to be informed of the day and the place of the battle.

This is crucial, as Switzerland actually expected Austria coming from Arth, while Austria was actually coming along the shores of the lake from Zug, which is... another route [/geography fail]

Legend has it that an Austrian betrayed his people by warning the Swiss, while it's actually just the knight-y thing to do to set up a time and a date.

Of course, Switzerland being not a knight, thought this was the stupidest thing to do, like, ever, and totally ambushed the shit out of the Austrians.

There was a narrow passage between the Ägeri Lake and a steep hill, and that's the route the Austrians took. Dunno, must have been the scenic route or something.

And that's where the Swiss ambushed them. They blocked the route with cut down trees.

And once the troops had to stop...

... the Swiss dismounted the Austrians by throwing stones at them, and the proceeded to attack them with the use of halberds.

It was a massacre. Unlike the knights, who tended to spare the wounded, the Swiss just killed everyone. They also took fully advantage of the handicaps of the knights who were more or less helpless and couldn't retaliate on the moment.
Proof: 9000 Austrians went against 1500 Swiss. 2000 died, while on the Swiss side... 12.

That's the reason why the Habsburg never acknowledged this defeat, saying that the Swiss had fought in a godless and barbaric way.

For the Swiss however, this was an enormous motivation boost, and in december, Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden renewed the pact of 1291 in order to be more united than ever.