"The Harper Encyclopedia Of Military Biography
Trevor N. Dupuy, Curt Johnson & David L. Bongard
Castle books 1995
pg. 832 "Ziska (Zizka), Jan (Johan, John) (c. 1376-1424), Bohemian Hussite general. Principle wars;Hussite-Germans Wars (1419-14360; Hussite Civil Wars (1423-1434). principal battles; Sudonner (Sudomerice, n of Tabor)(1419); Witkowo (1420); Lutitz, Kuttenberg (Kutna Hora)1(1421); Kuttenberg 11, Nemecky (havlickuv) Brod (1422); Horice, Stachowka (1423),Skalica. Malesov (Kutna Hora)(1424).
Born at Trocnov in Bohemia (c. 1376; although some accounts make him as much as 15 years older); as a young man he was connected with the court of King Wenceslaus IV & held the office of chamberlain to Queen Sophia; lost an eye in incessant civil strife under Wenceslaus between 1380 & 1419; an experienced warrior, he first came to national prominence after Wenceslaus died (1419); joined the advanced Hussite encampment at Tabor south of Prague when King Sigismund & the Prague burghers arranged an armistice (May? 1419); at Tabor; he helped the more radical & communal Hussites formulate their military organization, & became one of the hejtmane ("captains of the people"); when the citizens of Prague appealed for help against Sigismund's besieging army. Ziska led the Taborite army & repulsed sigismund's attack on the Taborite position at Witkowow Hill (July 20, 1420); after their success & the relief of Prague, Ziska & tha Taborites returned to their base; the next year at the meeting of Bohemian & Moravian estates at Caslav (June 1,1421), Ziska was elected a member of the provisional government; on campaign later that year he captured the castle of Lutitz, defeated a German army at Kuttenburg, & lost his remaining eye at the seige of Rabi (1421); despite total blindness, Ziska remained in command of the Taborite army, & defeated Sigismund at Nebovid Kuttenburg II (Jan. 6, 1422); gained another great victory a few days later at Nemecky Brod (Jan. 10); when civil war broke out within the Hussite movement (1423); Ziska sided with the Taborites, & snashed an allied army of more moderate Utraquists & the men of Prague at Horice (April 27); after a brief armistice, he again defeated the Utraquists at Strachowka (Aug. 4); following these triumphs of the Taborite cause, Ziska mounted an invasion of Hungary (Sept.), but although he acheived some intial success, he was unable to break Sigismund's hold on the country & returned to Bohemia (Oct.); in a futher outbreak of civil strife among the Hussites, Ziska led the Taborites to victory at Skalica (Jan. 6, 1424) & Malesov (June 7); capitalizing on these victories, he marched on Prague (early Sept.), but his progress was halted by the conclusion of peace between the Taborites & the moderates, the former adversaries then joined forces to drive the last of Sigismund's partisans from Moravia, & Ziska was placed in command; before reaching the frontier, he was striken with plague, & died at Pribyslay (Oct. 11, 1424).
Perhaps the most remarkable figure in Czech history; a brave & valiant warrior, he was a gifted strategist & an innovative & resourceful tactician, the core of the military system he created for the Taborites was the Wagenburg, a series of stout wooden wagons with crossbows or light canons mounted in them, chained together, with pikemen, handgunners, & crossbowmen stationed in the gaps, creating an unusually strong position, one which repeatedly frustrated Sigismund's knights; of necessity the system was tactifully defensive, although success was usually crowned with a well-timed counterattack, & much of Ziska's brillant reputation rested on his marriage of the tactical defense with the strategic offense.
TM & DLB (Tom Magnusson & David L. Bongard)
Denis, Ernest, "Hus et la guerre des Hussites. Paris, 1930.
Heyman, Frederick Gotthold, "John Siska & the Hussite Revolution. N.Y. 1969
Kaminsky, Howard, "A History of the Hussite Revolution. Berkeley, Calif., 1967
Macek, Josef, :The Hussite Movement in Bohemia." Translated by Vilem Fried & Ian Milner. 1958. Reprint, London, 1965.
EB. EMH (Encyclopedia Britannica. 24 vols. Chicago, 1966,
Dupuy, R. Ernest & Trevor N., "Encyclopedia of Military History. Fairfax, Va., 1984)"
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