Battle of Caransebes - how the gypsies of the Austrians got drunk, and they defeated themselves

In 1788, the Austrian emperor Joseph II decided to free the Balkans from the Turkish yoke - an intention worthy of a Christian, but based, of course, not on pious intentions, but on the desire to extend the influence of Austria to the so-called "underbelly of Europe." Gathering a huge army, the Austrians crossed the border.

After marches, transitions, large and small battles with varying success, both sides prepared for the decisive battle. Unfortunately, there are no reliable sources about the Battle of Caransebes. The first detailed record of this battle was published only 59 years later. And here's what she said ...

On a moonless night on September 19, 100 thousand Austrians went to a rapprochement with a 70 thousand Turkish army in order to give a battle that was supposed to determine the fate of the war.

A company of hussars, marching in the vanguard of the Austrians, crossed the small river Temesh, near the city of Caransebes, but there were no Turkish troops on the bank - they had not yet approached. However, the hussars saw a gypsy camp. Delighted with the opportunity to earn extra money, the gypsies offered the hussars to refresh themselves after the crossing - for money, of course. For a few coins, the cavalrymen bought a barrel of alcohol from the gypsies and began to quench their thirst.

Meanwhile, in the same place, several infantry companies crossed, which did not get alcohol, but were thirsty ... A squabble began between the hussars and infantrymen, during which one cavalryman either accidentally or out of anger shot a soldier. He collapsed, after which a general dump began. All the hussars and all the infantry in the vicinity intervened in the fight.

Both the drunken hussars and the thirsty infantry, heated up by the massacre, did not want to give up. Finally, one of the sides took up - the defeated fled shamefully to their shore, pursued by the jubilant enemy. Who was defeated? - history is silent, or rather, information is contradictory. It is quite possible that in some places the victory was won by the hussars, and in others by the infantry. Be that as it may, the troops approaching the crossing suddenly saw frightened fleeing soldiers and hussars, crumpled, bruised, covered in blood ... Behind them could be heard the triumphant shouts of their pursuers.

Meanwhile, the hussar colonel, trying to stop his soldiers, yelled in German: “Halt! Halt! ” Since in the ranks of the Austrian army there were many Hungarians, Slovaks, Lombards and others who did not understand the German language well, some of the soldiers heard - “Allah! Allah! ”, After which the panic became general. During the general rush and noise, several hundred cavalry horses in the paddock burst out from behind the fence. So it happened in the middle of the night, everyone decided that the Turkish cavalry had burst into the location of the army. The commander of one corps, hearing the menacing noise of the "advancing cavalry", ordered the artillerymen to open fire. The shells exploded in the crowd of maddened soldiers. The officers who tried to organize resistance built their regiments and threw them into the attack on the artillery, in full confidence that they were at war with the Turks. In the end, everyone fled.

The emperor, who did not understand anything, who was also confident that the Turkish army had attacked the camp, tried to seize the situation, but the running crowd threw him off his horse. The emperor's adjutant was trampled. Joseph himself escaped by jumping into the river.

By morning, everything was quiet. The whole space was littered with rifles, dead horses, saddles, provisions, broken shell boxes and overturned cannons - in a word, everything that was thrown by the utterly beaten army. On the field of the strangest battle in the history of mankind, 10 thousand dead soldiers remained - that is, in terms of the number of dead, the battle is among the largest battles of mankind (in the famous battles of Hastings, Agincourt, Valmy, in the Valley of Abraham and many others, the number of deaths is much less). The Austrian army ceased to exist, as the survivors fled in horror.

Two days later, the Turkish army approached. The Turks looked in amazement at the piles of corpses, wandered among the wounded, groaning in delirium soldiers, racking their brains over the question - what unknown enemy utterly crushed one of the most powerful armies in the world and saved Turkey from defeat. Christendom failed to acquire the Balkans. Austria did not become the strongest state in Europe, could not stop the French revolution, the world followed the path of France ...

So a small gypsy camp, which accidentally turned out to be a barrel of alcohol, determined the fate of mankind.