View Full Version : August 1, 1664: Austrians crush the Ottoman Empire at the Battle of Saint Gottard!

János Hunyadi
Wednesday, August 2nd, 2006, 06:29 AM
Raimondo Montecuccoli

Austrian hero of Szentgotthárd


Raimondo, Count of Montecúccoli or Montecucculi Montecúccoli was born February 21, 1608 at the castle of Montecucculo in Modena; he was an Austrian general who was also prince of the Holy Roman Empire and Neapolitan duke of Melfi.

His family was of Burgundian origin and had settled in north Italy in the 10th century. At the age of sixteen Montecucculi began as a private soldier under his uncle, Count Ernest Montecucculi, a distinguished Austrian general (d. 1633). Four years later, after much active service in Germany and the Low Countries, he became a captain of infantry. He was severely wounded at the storming of New Brandenburg, and again in the same year (1631) at the first battle of Breitenfeld, where he fell into the hands of the Swedes.

He was again wounded at Lützen in 1632, and on his recovery was made a major in his uncle's regiment. Shortly afterwards he became a lieutenant-colonel of cavalry. He did good service at the first battle of Nordlingen (1634), and at the storming of Kaiserslautern in the following year won his colonelcy by a feat of arms of unusual brilliance, a charge through the breach at the head of his heavy cavalry.

He fought in Pomerania, Bohemia and Saxony (surprise of Wolmirstadt, battles of Wittstock and Chemnitz), and in 1639 he was taken prisoner at Melnik and detained for two and a half years in Stettin and Weimar. In captivity he studied, not only military science, but also geometry in Euclid, history in Tacitus, and architecture in Vitruvius, and planned his great work on war.

On his release he distinguished himself again in Silesia. In 1643 he went to Italy, by the emperor's request. He was promoted lieutenant-field-marshal and obtained a seat in the council of war. In 1645-46 he served in Hungary against Prince Rákóczy of Transylvania, on the Danube and Neckar against the French, and in Silesia and Bohemia against the Swedes. The victory of Triebel in Silesia won him the rank of general of cavalry, and at the battle of Zusmarshausen in 1648 his stubborn rearguard fighting rescued the imperialists from annihilation.

For some years after the Peace of Westphalia Montecucculi was chiefly concerned with the business of the council of war, though he went to Flanders and England as the representative of the emperor, and to Sweden as the envoy of the pope to Queen Christina, and at Modena his lance was victorious in a great tourney.

In 1657, soon after his marriage with Countess Margarethe de Dietrichstein, he took part in, and after a time commanded, an expedition against Rákóczy and the Swedes who had attacked the king of Poland. He became field-marshal in the imperial army, and with the Great Elector of Brandenburg completely defeated Rákóczy and his allies (peace of Oliva, 1660).

From 1661 to 1664 Montecucculi with inferior numbers defended Austria against the Turks. The Battle of Saint Gotthard was fought on August 1, 1664 between an Austrian army led by Raimondo Montecuccoli and the Ottoman Empire at Szentgotthárd in Western Hungary. The Turks were so utterly defeated that they had to agree to the Peace of Vasvár, which held for almost twenty years.