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The settlers had other concerns beyond their Hungarian rulers. They suffered sporadic invasions from Tatars in the 16th to 17th Centuries, and from the Ottoman Empire, who had eyes on the holdings of the Austro-Hungarians.
As a result, the most successful Saxon settlements were the most fortified. In the mid-1860’s, English writer Charles Boner stayed with the Protestant clergyman responsible for the fortified church at Mediasch – modern day Medias in the county of Sibiu.
What would they have done to develop the capability to take out the church at Denndorf, for example?
This is the first of two short articles – the first gives an insight into the specialists of the PMF Engineering Corps; the second will look at explosives and their use against buildings in a bit more detail. Continue reading In the 13th Century, the kings of Hungary encouraged settlers, mainly farmers and merchants from the Rhineland, to settle in what we know as Transylvania.
These Saxon settlers were given special social and economic status, a treatment they guarded jealously through the centuries that followed and the creation of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
The areas they settled were remarkably abundant, and the towns and villages they founded were very often quite rich – able to bear the occasionally huge taxes imposed on them first by their Hungarian and then Imperial rulers, who treated their Transylvanian territories as a bank account to be dipped into in times of trouble with scant regard for the effect on their subjects.
There was a time, for example, when the early service was postponed till a later hour, – it not being thought safe to open the gates of the stronghold in which the church stood in the dim light of daybreak, lest the enemy, taking them by surprise, might force his way in.
In some churches I have seen the large round stones still standing on the parapet of the tower, as they were placed centuries back to hurl down upon the besiegers, when the outer walls were taken, and, all being lost, the inhabitants were attacked in this last place of defence.” Stones were not the only thing Boner found on standing, a little breathless, on the high walls of these bastions: “Besides these still remaining from old perilous times, I have seen rusty halberds and clumsy fire-arms, fitted only to fire from behind the wall.” Boner mentions that his research reading spoke of warrior pastors, whose effects could include cup, cassock, and suit of armour.
Some science and games mechanics follow, along with a couple of maniacal giggles! Iain’s piece on fortified churches got me thinking like a PMF general – how would the Promethean Military Force have organised their ability to handle a siege?
“The church is surrounded by three high walls, flanked with towers, and a low, pointed, arched portal leads from one to the other.