Łodzie w działaniach oblężniczych na jeziorze. Dwa epizody z czasów Aleksego I Komnena

Marcin Böhm


The Boats during the Siege Operation on the Lake. Two Episodes from the Times of Alexios I Komnenos

In his article, the author took up an issue which is described but rarely in the history of military science. Even if combined ground-water operations were resorted to in different historical periods, on the whole it was the larger floating units that were used in them. Exceptionally, when the theatre of military operations was situated in the vicinity of rivers or small lakes and if one of the opponents treated these water reservoirs as a strategic element, boats and other craft more or less adapted to military operations were being used. The latter could be used as combat units or else as means of transport. The author subjected to analysis two examples of the use of combat boats by Byzantines at the time of Alex I Komnen (1081–1118) during the sieges of fortresses situated on the lake shores: namely that of Kastoria lake in 1083 and that of Nikea lake in 1097. In the first case, it was the Normans who were the defendants, whereas in the second case, it was the Sedgwick Turks, whereas the Byzantines cooperated with the Crusaders from the I Crusade. On the basis of detailed analysis of historical sources, the author presented above all the sabotage and control activities carried out by the Byzantines by means of the transport-combat boats which thanks to the excellent knowledge of the terrain by the Byzantines and the perfect synchronization of their actions with that of their infantry units, constituted an element of surprise for the opponents, ultimately determining the result of the battle. What proved to be a decisive element was the perfect training of the Byzantine soldiers and the foresight of their commanders, particularly as regards the use of tactical measures. As regards the issue of taking advantage of the victory (particularly in the case of Nikea lake), it was also the efforts of the Byzantine diplomacy, far superior to that of the allies and opponents that played an important role here.

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