Battle of Sudoměř

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Battle of Sudomĕř
Part of the Hussite Wars
Battle of Sudoměř
The Battle of Sudoměř by Ferdinand Hetteš
Date March 25, 1420
Location Southern Bohemia
Result Hussite victory
Belligerents
Hussites Catholics
Commanders and leaders
Jan Žižka
Břeněk of Švihov†,
Jindřich of Hradec
Bohuslav of Švamberk
Strength
12 war wagons with 400 infantry 2,000 cavalry
Casualties and losses
Heavy, at least 3 wagons destroyed, 30 captive Heavy

The Battle of Sudomĕř was fought on 25 March, 1420, between Catholic and Hussite forces. The Hussites were led by Břeněk of Švihov - who was killed in battle - and Jan Žižka, whose forces proved victorious. This was the second major battle of the Hussite Wars; the first battle, the Battle of Nekmíř, was more of a Hussite retreat than a true fight.

The Battle of Sudomĕř began after Hussite forces which had taken up temporary fortifications on the plains were found by Royalist forces, who closed in for an attack. The Hussites were greatly outnumbered 5 to 1, and initially hoisted the white flag, but when the Royalists refused to accept their surrender the battle truly began.

Though outnumbered and comparatively ill-equipped, facing heavily armoured knights, the Hussites had fortified their surroundings ingeniously. Their flank was protected by war wagons loaded with arquebusiers, and many large ponds and marshy areas surrounded the Hussite infantry - ground which the Royalist Cavalry could not hope to cross.

One thousand Johannites from Strakonice led by Jindřich of Hradec - killed in battle - attacked war wagons placed on a slim dam, with huge casualties but no success. After that, another thousand Royalist cavalrymen, led by Peter von Konopischt of Sternberg - killed in the Battle of Vítkov Hill later that year - rushed a weakly held side of the Hussite formation, but were mired in marshy ground. They dismounted in order to progress, but soon found themselves mired once more. Following this, the Hussite light infantry equipped with flails were able to easily finish the cavalrymen.

The battle ended with the advance of night and fog, during which Žižka and the Hussite forces were able to escape. Though the Catholic Royalists were not entirely defeated, the fact the Hussites were able to inflict such heavy casualties with so few men, and then escape soundly proved to be a great victory. Only 400 hussites - farmers and townsmen, including women and children - beat the 2,000-strong force of heavily armoured cavalry. Hussite General, Jan Žižka, through superior knowledge of tactics and terrain, along with the highly effective deployment of vozová hradba (wagon fort) strategies, won the day.

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Coordinates: 49°14′31″N 14°03′50″E / 49.24194°N 14.06389°E / 49.24194; 14.06389