Friday, May 17, 2013

Ramparts of Blood

The Knights of St John, the Hospitallers of old, came to reside upon the island of Rhodes. They watched as the Ottomans spread across the the middles, creating a massive Empire.  Eventually the Turks turned their eyes upon Knights and their fortress upon Rhodes. In 1480 they attacked the isle, defended by the Grand Master d Aubusson and his Knights.

For days the battle raged and the outnumbered knights held the Turks at bay. The Turks continued their grueling attack until at last the bastion of the walls of the Tower of Italy fell and a great host of them surged over the ruined ramparts.

D' Aubusson, wounded in the leg by arrow, gathered his knights and charged into the breach. With sword and axe they carved a bloody swath through the lightly armored foe. D Aubusson was everywhere in the forefront, carving ruin into his foe. Three times he was wounded but he fought on; not until a massive Jannissary hurled a spear that drove through his breast plate and into his lung was he forced to quit the fight.

But as he fell the Knights surged again and unfurled their great banners and the Turks thought that more knights were coming to the field. Unable to breach the rubble they began to fall back, falling from those cat walks they had taken, tumbling from walls and parapets into the parading ass of humanity below they caused those pressing the walls to panic and these scrambled to turn but found themselves pressed against those coming up from behind. The knights continued their iron drive into the tightly packed ranks of maddened flesh. Further panic broke out and as d' Aubusson was pulled from the field the Turkish infantry broke and fled form the castle walls.

Some 3000 Turkish dead lay about the breach and a further 300 Jannissaries who had broke into the fortress and found themselves cut off when their comrades fled.

d' Aubusson, the Grand Master, survived his many wounds and lived to command the order until his passing in 1503.

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