The battle started before all units were fully deployed. Early in the morning at 4:00, Turkish forces opened hostilities to interfere with the Holy League's troop deployment. A move forward was made by Charles, the Austrian army on the left, and the German forces in the center.
Mustafa Pasha launched a counter-attack, with most of his force, but holding back parts of the elite Janissary and Spahi for the invasion of the city. The Turkish commanders had intended to take Vienna before Sobieski arrived, but time ran out. Their sappers had prepared another large and final detonation under the Löbelbastei, to provide access to the city. While the Turks hastily finished their work and sealed the tunnel to make the explosion more effective, the Austrian "moles" detected the cavern in the afternoon. One of them entered and defused the load just in time.
At that time, above the "subterranean battlefield", a large battle was going on, as the Polish infantry had launched a massive assault upon the Turkish right flank. Instead of focusing on the battle with the relief army, the Turks tried to force their way into the city, carrying their crescent flag.
After 12 hours of fighting, Sobieski's Polish force held the high ground on the right. At about five o'clock in the afternoon, after watching the ongoing infantry battle from the hills for the whole day, four cavalry groups, one of them Austrian-German, and the other three Polish, totaling 20,000 men, charged down the hills. The attack was led by the Polish king in front of a spearhead of 3000 heavily armed winged Polish lancer hussars. This charge broke the lines of the Ottomans, who were tired from the long fight on two sides. In the confusion, the cavalry headed straight for the Ottoman camps, while the remaining Vienna garrison sallied out of its defenses and joined in the assault.
The Ottoman army were tired and dispirited following the failure of both the sapping attempt and the brute force assault of the city, and the arrival of the cavalry turned the tide of battle against them, sending them into retreat to the south and east. In less than three hours after the cavalry attack, the Christian forces had won the battle and saved Vienna from capture.
After the battle, Sobieski paraphrased Julius Caesar's famous quote by saying "veni, vidi, Deus vicit" - "I came, I saw, God conquered"
Although no one realized it at the time, the battle shaped the outcome of the entire war as well. The Ottomans fought on for another 16 years, losing control of Hungary and Transylvania in the process, before finally giving up. The end of the conflict was finalized by the Treaty of Karlowitz.
The Battle of Vienna is seen by many historians as marking the beginning of the decline of the Ottoman Empire. The battle also marked the historic end of Turkish expansion into southeastern Europe.
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