Bavery - Arnold von Winkelried

Arnold von Winkelried is a hero of Swiss history, who is said to have played a key role in the victory of the Old Swiss Confederation’s forces in the Battle of Sempach in 1386 against the modern army of Austria’s Habsburg Duke Leopold III.

According to the legend, the Swiss could not break the close ranks of the Habsburg foot soldiers. Winkelried is reported to have shouted:
"I will open a passage into the line; protect, dear countrymen and confederates, my wife and children", before opening a breach in their lines by throwing himself into their pikes, taking them down with his body such that the Swiss could attack through the opening.

Similar to William Tell, the figure of Winkelried was an important symbol during the formation of the Swiss federal state and an icon of Swiss independence during World War II. Napoleon referred to Winkelried as "the Swiss Decius, immortalized" at Sempach.

 

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