The Battle of Morgarten occurred on November 15th, 1315 when a 1,500-strong force from the Swiss Confederacy ambushed a group of Habsburg soldiers on the shores of Lake Ägeri near the Morgarten Pass in Switzerland. The Swiss, led by Werner Stauffacher, defeated the Habsburg troops, who were under the command of Duke Leopold I. The Swiss victory consolidated the Everlasting League of the Three Forest Cantons, which formed the core of modern Switzerland.
The Confederates of Schwyz were supported by the Confederates of Uri, who feared for their autonomy. They were not supported by the Confederates of Unterwalden, which expected the army to approach from the west near the village of Arth, where they had erected fortifications. The size of the Confederate army is also disputed, with estimates ranging from 1,500 to around 3,000-4,000. Nevertheless, regardless of their size, the Confederate militia lacked the training of the Habsburg knights, who were also better equipped and ranged in numbers of 2,000-5,000. According to a legend recounted in Tait's Edinburgh Magazine in 1852, one Habsburg knight, Henry Huenenberg, recognizing the superiority of his force and possibly concerned that victory over a "rabble" would be a disgrace, in an act of chivalry shot an arrow with a message attached into the Confederates' camp, telling them that the Habsburg forces would advance through Morgarten on November 15th and that they should return to their homes.
When the Confederates attacked from above with rocks, logs and halberds, the Habsburg knights had no room to defend themselves and suffered a crushing defeat, while the foot soldiers in the rear fled back to the city of Zug. About 1,500 Habsburg soldiers were killed in the attack. According to Karl von Elgger, the Confederates, unfamiliar with the customs of battles between knights, brutally butchered retreating troops and everyone unable to flee. He records that some infantry preferred to drown themselves in the lake rather than face the brutality of the Swiss. #mortgarten #november151315 #swissindependence #halberd #halberdier #schwyz #lakeägeri #history #geography #knowyourhistory