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Battle of Vitkov Hill (Bitva na Vítkově)

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Published on Aug 16, 2010

The last part of Otakar Vavra's epic Hussite trilogy Against All Enemies, 1956 (Proti všem, 1956). Battle of Vitkov Hill, 14th July 1420.

Defence of Prague (Battle of Vitkov Hill)
The siege of Prague began on 12 June. The crusaders' forces, in the opinions of the chroniclers, consisted of 100-200 thousand soldiers. In the opinions of modern historians they probably had 50-100 thousand soldiers. One of the most important points in the fortifications of Prague was Vítkov Hill. The fortifications on this hill secured roads on the crusaders' supply lines. The fortifications themselves were made from timber but they were consolidated with a stone and clay wall and with moats. On the southern part of the hill there was a standing tower, the northern part was secured by a steep cliff. The fortifications were said to be defended by 26 men and three women, though in the opinion of J. Durdik, it was probably about 60 soldiers. On 13 July, the Crusader's cavalry crossed the river Vltava and began their attack. On 14 July, Hussite relief troops surprise attacked the Knights through the vineyards on the southern side of the hill on which the battle was fought. The violent attack forced the crusaders down the steep northern cliff. Panic spread among the crusaders, which made them rout the field. During the retreat, many knights drowned in the Vltava. Most of Žižka's forces were soldiers armed with flails and guns. After the battle, the Hussites had won. Crusaders lost about 300 knights. In honour of this battle, Vítkov Hill was renamed Žižkov after Jan Žižka. This battle was more on a political success than a military success. As a consequence of the Hussite victory on Vítkov, the crusaders lost any hope of starving the city into submission and their army disintegrated. Afterward the crusaders withdrew to Kutná Hora and began local warfare. A monument exists today on the hill and in 2003 local officials were attempting to replant the vineyard.

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