The Battle of Vítkov Hill
was a part of the
. The battle pitted the
forces of Emperor Sigismund, Holy Roman Emperor
forces under command of
(in English, John
Zizka). Vítkov Hill was located on the edge of the
city of Prague and the
battle occurred in a vineyard established by Sigismund's father,
Preliminaries to the battle
On the 1st of March 1420, Pope Martin
published a papal bull
in which he
ordered that Sigismund and all Eastern princes had to organize a
against the Hussite followers of
and other heretics. On the 15th of March in Wrocław, Emperor Sigismund ordered the execution of
Jan Krása who was a Hussite and
leader of the Wrocław Uprising
On the 17th of March the papal legate Ferdinand de Palacios
bull in Wrocław. After that the Utraquist
faction of Hussites understood that they would not reach agreement
with him. They united with Taborite
Hussites and decided to defend against the emperor.
crusaders assembled their army in Świdnica.
On the 4th
of April 1420, Taborite forces destroyed Catholic forces in
Vožice. On the 7th of April Taborites under command
of Nicholas of Hus captured Sedlice
after which they captured Písek, the castle
Rábí, Strakonice, and Prachatice.
At the end of April, the crusading army
crossed the Bohemian border. At the beginning of May they captured
Králové. On the 7th May, Čeněk of Wartenberg surrounded
Fights on Benešov and near Kutná Hora
Crusader force of 400 infantry and knights under the command of
Peter of Sternberg attempted to
defend Benešov against the
After the battle, the crusader forces were
destroyed and the town was burned. Near Kutná Hora the crusader forces under the command of Janek z Chtěnic and Pippo Spano (Filippo Scolari) attacked the
formations of the Taborites without success.
On 22 May Taborite forces entered Prague. Jan Žižka destroyed
the crusader's relief column which had to secure supplies which
were sent to Hradčany and Vyšehrad. Meanwhile the crusading army captured
Slaný, Louny and Mělník.
Defence of Prague
- The siege began on the 12th of June. The crusaders' forces, in
the opinions of the chroniclers, consisted of 100-200 thousand
soldiers. In the opinions of modern historians they probably had
50-100 thousand soldiers. One of the most important points in the
fortifications of Prague was Vítkov Hill. The fortifications on
this hill secured roads on the crusaders' supply lines. The
fortifications themselves were made from trees but they were
consolidated with a stone and clay wall and with moats. On the southern part of the hill there was a
standing tower, the northern part was secured by a steepy cliff.
Fortifications were said to be defended by 26 men and 3 women. In
the opinion of J. Durdik, the fortifications were probably actually
defended by about 60 soldiers.
- On the 13th of July, The Crusader's cavalry crossed the river
Vltava (German name: Moldau) and
began their attack.
- On the 14th of July, Hussite relief troops surprise attacked
Knights through the vineyards on the southern side of the hill on
which the battle was fought. The violent attack forced the
crusaders down the steep northern cliff. Panic spread among the
crusaders, which made them route the field. During the retreat,
many knights drowned in the Vltava river. Most of Žižka's forces
were soldiers armed with flails and guns. After the battle, the
Hussites had won. Crusaders lost about 300 knights. In honour of
this battle, Vítkov Hill was renamed Žižkov after Jan Žižka. This
battle was more on a political success than a military success. As
a consequence of the Hussite victory on Vitkov, crusaders lost any
hope in starving the city and their army disintegrated. Afterward
the crusaders withdrew to Kutná Hora and began local warfare.
A monument exists today on the hill and in 2003 local officials
were attempting to replant the vineyard.
- Piotr Marczak "Wojny Husyckie" (English, "Hussites Wars") pages
61-67 published 2003 by "Egros" Warsaw