Battle of Karánsebes

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The Battle of Karánsebes (Romanian: Caransebeș, Turkish: Şebeş Muharebesi) is a myth, supposedly about a friendly fire incident in the Austro–Turkish War of 1787–1791. During the night of 20-21 September 1788, Austrian forces were retreating from the area around Karánsebes. Some Hussars in the rearguard robbed a Romanian peasant of his cartload of booze, then some Freikorps turned up and demanded a share. The hussars chased them off, so some of the Freikorps crept back and launched a surprise attack on them, shouting "Turks, Turks" - this caused a bit of panic which spread to the nearby formed up two divisions (4 squadrons) of hussars and from there, it spread amongst the transport teams of the train. It took the senior command a while to restore order, but the shooting prompted the Turks to attack the rearguard and there was a short engagement during which the town of Karansebes caught light and was reduced to ashes. [1]

The first account was written in the Osterreichische Militärische Zeitschrift (1831) Vol 4 p.59. It then appears in English in History of the eighteenth century and of the nineteenth till the overthrow of the French empire, with particular reference to mental cultivation and progress, which was published in 1843: "A detailed account of the singular story of this night-march and its consequences does not appear to us to belong to the province of general history; it will however be found both authentic and complete in the Austrian Military Magazine of 1831."[2]

However, the tale was somewhat exaggerated afterwards in Geschichte Josephs des Zweiten by A. J. Gross-Hoffinger, written 59 years after the events in 1847, and has been widely copied.

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Further Reading of the Myths[edit]

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