Magyars win Battle of Augsburg
by Jeff Provine
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Day in Alternate History Please note that the opinions expressed in this
post do not necessarily reflect the views of the author(s).
On August 10th 955,
for days, the Magyar (Hungarians) had besieged and assaulted Augsburg,
held desperately under the command of Bishop Ulrich. On the 8th, they had
led a massive attack against the city, beaten back only after the leader
of had been slain by the defenders. German reinforcements under Otto I
arrived on the 9th, and the Magyar suspended the siege in preparation for
the coming battle.
With heavy cavalry pitted against their light archer cavalry, the Magyar
harka (leader) Bulcsú knew that they may be outmatched. His fears were
ablated upon the arrival of Otto I's estranged son-in-law, Conrad the Red.
Two years before, Conrad had joined his brother-in-law in rebellion
against Otto, but they were repressed and lost many of their holdings
despite reconciliation. It seemed that Conrad was now ready for a new
chance at overthrowing the king. Bulcsú promised to return Lorraine to him
and as well as anything else he managed to conquer in the west.
Conrad, having fought alongside Saxons the year before against the Ukrani,
was well familiar with the nomads of the east and their incursions into
central Europe. He noted that, despite superior numbers, the shoot-and-run
tactics of the Magyar would not be suited to the close quarters of the
field and surrounding woods. German armor was too strong for the light
bows of the Magyar, but they had an Achilles heel in their horses. The
next morning, the Magyar crossed the river to the German camps and
attacked the Bohemians and Schwabish allies, then retreated to provoke
them. Otto led pursuit, trying to keep close to the Magyar to prevent them
from breaking off and using their arrows.
Under Conrad's advice, the Magyar began to drop behind them ropes,
branches, baskets, anything that would trip up a horse. Whenever a
suitable number of the German forces were caught dismounted, the Magyar
would reverse their retreat into a sudden attack. Despite the German
discipline and organization, their lines eventually wavered and broke.
Once in pursuit of the Germans burdened in armor, the Magyar mopped up the
army, slaying thousands. Conrad and his soldiers went into deeper pursuit,
capturing and finally successfully overthrowing Otto. He would return to
the west to claim his lands and those of his father-in-law, building a
small empire that had much of Italy added to it with the conquests of his
brother-in-law over the next few years.
"This could have seriously switched things around
in Europe for the next 500 years... " - reader's commentMeanwhile,
the Magyar would continue to push northward over the next few decades
until they ran into the perhaps equally vicious Vikings. Not as adept for
defense as the Germans, the Magyar would fall back, and the Vikings would
conquer huge swaths of central Europe, managing to seize the vast wealth
of the remains of the Byzantine Empire. From Constantinople, the Viking
conquerors met their own match in the Turks, and an uneasy balance was
made between the two powerful foes.
In Western Europe, Christendom held as a sideline to the world powers.
Popes attempted to organize expeditions eastward to the Holy Land, but
they could never seem to summon the proper manpower to gain a foothold in
Palestine as the Germanies were held under Nordic sway. The Viking
kingdoms, now dominating key trade routes but unable to conquer the Turks,
attempted to find alternate passages by sailing south, finally
circumnavigating Africa in 1174.
"The Magyars, like the later Mongols, were
Central-Asian steppe horse archers...they could have used the same tactics
that the Mongols used against the knights. Maybe Subotai was a better
general than Bulcsu?" - reader's commentSeeing the wealth of such
travel, the Franks (soon to be known as the French), emulated the travels
of their Viking neighbors. Unencumbered by the need for constant defense
against the Turks, the French under Capetian rule were able to pour
resources into exploration, not only mimicking travel southward but also
discovering a vast New World to the west in 1252 under Louis IX. Louis the
Saint, as he was dubbed, freely encouraged the establishment of missions
and contact with the locals. In the coming century, the substantial wealth
of the "Indigčne" would be made obvious. A crusade for the liberation of
wealth would be declared and joined by the English. Huge conquests were
made and boatloads of gold returned to Europe, allowing for great power to
be held by the French (much given to the aid of the Spanish in their
Reconquista). With the outbreak of the Black Death in 1348, however, the
crusade would be called to an end.
After much suffering in Europe, a rebirth began with the Renaissance in
Italy. Spurred by rumors of wealth in the west, competing Italian
city-states would begin to establish dozens of new colonies throughout the
Indigene continent. Warfare with Indigenes would be continuous, but the
advent of black powder weapons aided colonists. City-states battled each
other until finally Italy came to unification under the powerful House of
the Medici. Fed by the wealth of conquests in the West and trade routes in
the East, the Medici would come to control nearly all of Western Europe,
using military might, political intrigue, and social prowess to carve a
new empire from the south of Scotland to the shores of Africa and from the
pyramids of Egypt to the pyramids of the Maya.
Technology and art would blossom through the Medici Empire. Gradually much
of the Nordic nations of central and eastern Europe would come under their
power as well as new colonies throughout the world. After centuries of
elegance and decadence, the empire would crumble, and a new dark age would
settle upon Europe as city-states fought each other for dominance.
With a scattered and mostly mapped world ready for the plucking, the
Ottoman Empire, having sat defensive against Medici incursions for
centuries, began its own conquest in AH 1131 (AD 1710). The Golden Age of
Islam would begin and grow as the single world power for centuries to
says in reality, Conrad joined the forces of Otto I, despite their
history, and proved instrumental in the battle, especially in morale. While
Conrad held the rear against Magyar counterattack, Otto led a disciplined
and organized march in pursuit of the Huns, slaughtering as he went. The
Magyar broke and fled, which caused local militias to rise up against them.
Few Magyars survived; many of those that did were punished with cut off ears
and noses as a sign of defeat. Thus King Otto the Great won the battle of
Lechfeld, the field outside of Augsburg used in Austrian nomenclature for
Otto went on to establish the Holy Roman Empire, which unified central
Europe and gave great power to Rome, especially in service during the
Crusades. The Hungarians, meanwhile, would settle in eastern Europe and
eventually be absorbed into the Austrian Empire after years of battle back
and forth with the Ottomans.
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Jeff Provine, Guest Historian of
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