Once upon a time, Austria (the Hapsburg Empire) attempted to conquer the Swiss and marched into the mountains. On July 9, 1386, they lined up to do battle with the Swiss at Sempach. The Swiss mountain men were outmanned and had inferior weapons. For once, obsessions with having the longer spear paid off. The Austrian’s pre-firearm spears were significantly longer than the Swiss’s short spears. This made it impossible to effectively attack the Austrians and break their line.
Needless to say, the Swiss were not faring well and the outlook was bleak. The soon to be legendary Arnold von Winkelried, knew that the Swiss would soon be defeated unless they made an opening in the Austrian’s line. Bravely, he extended his arms as far as possible, rushed toward the Austrian line and gathered as many spears as he could grasp in his arms. Legend says that he shouted, “take care of my wife and children” as he moved forward. It was either that or “who the heck pushed me”?
His legend is an important part of Swiss history and it isn’t difficult to find memorials to his bravery.
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