Battle of Racławice
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|Battle of Racławice|
|Part of the Kościuszko Uprising|
"Battle of Racławice", Jan Matejko 465 x 897 cm. Kraków's National Museum.
|Commanders and leaders|
|Tadeusz Kościuszko||Fiodor Denisov|
|4,440 and 11 cannons||3,000 and 12 cannons|
|Casualties and losses|
The Polish forces prepared for the battle were relatively small. The Polish Order of Battle was as follows:
|2 battalions||Infantry Regiment of Czapski||400 bayonettes|
|2 battalions||Infantry Regiment of Wodzicki||400 bayonettes|
|2 battalions||Infantry Regiment of Ożarowski||400 bayonettes|
|1 battalion||Infantry Regiment of Raczyński||200 bayonettes|
|10 squadrons of cavalry||under Antoni Madaliński||400 sabres|
|10 squadrons of cavalry||under Magnet||400 sabres|
|4 cavalry squadrons||under Biernacki||160 sabres|
|2 auxiliary cavalry squadrons||Duchy of Württemberg||80 sabres|
|2440 men altogether|
In addition, Lesser Poland fielded approximately 2,000 peasants armed with war scythes and pikes, known as kosynierzy, as well as 11 cannon. The outcome of the battle was a tactical Polish victory, with Kościuszko defeating the numerically inferior enemy. However, his forces were too small to undertake a successful pursuit, and the Corps of General Denisov evaded destruction and continued to operate in Lesser Poland.
The victory was subsequently promoted in Poland as a major success and helped in spreading the Kościuszko Uprising to other areas of Poland and instigating the Warsaw Uprising of 1794. Also, the participation of peasant volunteers was seen by many as the starting point of the political evolution of Polish peasantry from serfs to equally entitled citizens of the nation.
After the battle, Kościuszko paraded before his troops in a sukmana, a traditional attire worn in Lesser Poland, in honour of the bravery of the peasants, whose charge ensured the quick capture of the Russian artillery. He also praised Wojciech Bartosz Głowacki, a peasant who was the first to capture the cannon (he is visible in Matejko's painting, above). He smothered its fuse with his hat before it fired. In return he received an award of nobility. Both the red cap worn by his soldiers and the homemade war scythes were later featured on the emblem of the 303rd Polish Fighter Squadron which took part in the Battle of Britain.
- Smaczniak, Anthony; Piotrowski, Wallace (2000). "The Military Genius of Tadeusz Kosciuszko". Info Poland. Polish Academic Information Center, University at Buffalo. Retrieved 2 August 2012.