John Ziska



Jan Žižka z Trocnova a Kalicha (ˈjan ˈʒɪʃka; Johann Ziska; John Zizka of Trocnov and the Chalice) was a Czech general, Hussite leader, and follower of Jan Hus. He was born in the small village of Trocnov (now part of Borovany) in the Kingdom of Bohemia into an aristocratic family. He was nicknamed "One-eyed Žižka." From his youth, he was attached to the royal court and held the office of Chamberlain to Queen Sophia. He fought in the Battle of Grunwald (July 15, 1410), where he defended Radzyń against the Teutonic Order. Later he played a prominent role in the civil wars in Bohemia during the reign of Wenceslas IV. Žižka's tactics were unorthodox and innovative. In addition to training and equipping his army according to their abilities, he used armored wagons armed with small cannons and muskets, presaging the tank of five hundred years later. He was also a master at using geography to full advantage as well as managing the discipline of his troops. In the Battle of Kutná Hora (1421) he defeated the army of the Holy Roman Empire and Hungary. The battle was the first case of recorded use of field artillery (previously, artillery was used only during sieges of towns). Originally employed as a measure of last resort, its effectiveness against the royal cavalry turned field artillery into a firm part of Hussite armies. Žižka is considered to be among the greatest military leaders and innovators of all time and is one of several commanders in history who never lost a battle (alongside Alexander the Great, Scipio Africanus, Khalid ibn al-Walid, Subutai, the Duke of Marlborough, Bai Qi, Alexander Suvorov, Fyodor Ushakov, Yi Sun-Shin, and Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck). A monument was erected on the Vítkov Hill to honor Jan Žižka and his victory on this hill (1420). It is the third largest bronze equestrian statue in the world.

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