Battle of Mohacs 1526 – Ottoman Wars

Battle of Mohacs 1526 – Ottoman Wars By 1520 – the great Christian fortress of Rhodes had been taken and the Ottomans had regained dominance in the Mediterranean Sea so all their resources could now be redirected towards the mainland their target was the kingdom of Hungary a fragile land rife with internal chaos a nation ripe for the Battle of Mohacs one of the most significant clashes in the history of it had been the ambition.

The Ottomans to the heartlands of Europe ever since Sultan Mehmet ii Suleiman first knew that the kingdom of Hungary was the door that could lead them into the core of Christendom and with the current political climate in Europe the Hungarians would receive little to no aid against this pending Turkish invasion Suleiman’s reign began with the conquest of the Hungarian controlled city of Belgrad in 1521 with the fall of roads.

In 1522 he was able to refocus his resources back onto mainland Europe Europe was a divided continent whose Great Powers were locked in perpetual feuds among these were the kingdom of France and the Holy Roman Empire ruled by Charles V of the famous Habsburg dynasty these states were too engaged in a struggle over control of Italy to pay mind to the Muslim Empire to their doorstep this was something the Ottomans intended to exploit to their advantage.

The Hungarian Kingdom

In 1525 the Habsburgs of Spain and Germany crushed a French army at Pavia and captured the French King Francis the First Francis was forced to make territorial concessions to the Habsburgs and relinquish his claims to Italy out of desperation France began looking for an ally to aid in their struggle against the Habsburgs Frances turned to the Ottomans he implored Suleiman for an alliance and pleaded for him to attack the Habsburgs this sent shockwaves throughout Europe Suleiman was delighted at the prospect for an alliance with France increased his legitimacy as a European Emperor.

Gave him the pretext to carry out an invasion he had planned on leading anyway in order for the Ottomans to strike at Habsburg territory like the French wished they would need to first go through Hungary this new alliance gave Suleiman extra incentive to finish what he’d started in 1521 and he began rallying his army for an invasion of the Hungarian Kingdom it is here we should turn back the clock a bit to explain the state of Hungary leading up to the Ottoman invasion.

Since 1490 the country had been stuck in a downward spiral king Ladislaus II was an ineffective king who sought to placate his nobility by selling almost all his royal estates to them but succeeded only in empowering the Hungarian magnates to take advantage of his weak centralized power declined and the standing army of Hungary was disbanded by the lords eager to increase their own profits things only became worse.

Ottoman Empire

In 1514 when a man at arms named Gearhead OSHA formed a peasant crusade of forty thousand farmers originally intended to attack the Ottomans during harvest season the Hungarian nobles tried to force the peasants to return to their homes and harassed their families to coerce them to do so all that accomplished was to incite the peasants into full-scale revolt resulting in a war that would ravage all angering the rebellion was brutally put down by the voivode of Transylvania jeong’s abaya.

Over seventy thousand peasants would be captured and tortured in the aftermath the young King Louis ii ascended to the Hungarian throne in 1516 and over time realized the threat the Ottomans posed to his realm’s existence his pleas for unity fell upon deaf ears for the peasant’s lords and vulnerable on the 23rd of April 1526 sultan Suleiman the first left Constantinople at the head of a massive army accompanied by his most trusted vizier Ibrahim pasha burying sources put the total numbers of this force between 50,000 to 100,000.

It was made up of laborers cavalry and elite Janissaries alongside 300 Canada the ottomans embarked upon an 80-day march of the Balkans during which torrential rains flooded the Danube River making maintenance of supply lines difficult nevertheless through the iron discipline of Vizier Ibrahim the ottomans reached Belgrad from Belgrad Suleiman sent Ibrahim a hedge to capture the fortress of petrovaradin ottoman sappers detonated mines beneath the walls.

History of Ottoman Battles

The Janissaries charged to take the fortress while losing only 25 men the bulk of the Ottoman army joined the strike force and moved on Sulaiman knew that the best place for the Hungarians to make a stand was the mouth of the river Travie below the town of Oceana and so he diverted his army towards it the town of iakh fell on August 8th with little resistance when Suleiman.

His army arrived where the driver met the Danube he expected to come face-to-face with a huge Hungarian host but instead was surprised to find that no enemy was there King Louis II had mustered an army of around 25,000 men in the town of Dolna it was made up of Hungarians Croatians and I’m Ian’s with a corps of men-at-arms and armored Knights [Music] much like Suleiman King Lewis knew the importance of the mouth of the river Travie and ordered his deputy Stefan Batory to lead a vanguard fair and defend it at all costs.

However, the nobles refused to submit to Tory’s command declaring they would only follow the king himself the vanguard plan was abandoned and the Hungarian King instead led his quarreling army to a field just outside a little riverside hamlet known as Mow hatch where they awaited their enemy on August 26th the Ottoman host reached mow hatch and the two armies came face-to-face the Hungarians had set up a camp between the river Bazar and mow hatch proper they stood in two lines the first line being made up of ten thousand infantrymen divided into two wings supplemented by divisions of mounted.

Knights King Lewis

Knights King Lewis himself led the second line surrounded by 1,000 of his personal armored cavalry and the troops of his noble men meanwhile the Ottomans had managed to advance themselves into a position well-protected by woods and ridges and set up an encampment there Suleiman ordered his troops into a tiered defense made up of three lines the first two lines were made up of 30,000 roa million.

Anatolian cavalry supplemented by 4,000 Janissaries and 150 cannons they were led by Ibrahim pasha the third line was led by Sultan Suleiman himself and was made up of 15,000 Janissaries and CIPA he’s they guarded the bulk of the Ottoman artillery which protected by a circle of wagons lightly armed ing horsemen occupied the left flank close to the Hungarian line and a rearguard of heavy cavalry and footmen remained back in the encampment in reserve.

On August 29th fighting began the Hungarians were the first to strike and commence their assault at 3:00 in the afternoon knowing the Muslims in Suleiman’s army would be occupied with their afternoon prayer a crescendo of Hungarian artillery fired across the battlefield the right wing of the Hungarian first line charged the Ottomans the Romanian cavalry were not prepared for the assault and the heavily armored Hungarian footmen broke through the first two lines of the Ottoman defense.

Before Battle

And fought their way toward the Ottoman third line inspired by this initial success the second line of Hungarian mounted knights charged into battle joining the fierce melee at the fringes and encircling the Romanian cavalry from the outside pushing them back towards their camp meanwhile the Hungarian left-wing stabbed at the center of the disordered ottoman first line the Hungarians fought bravely breaking through to Sultan’s position.

Who was now in danger of being cut down however this success was unsustainable as the Hungarians came within range of the Ottoman wagon fortress a volley of guns and artillery inflicted heavy damage upon the first line soon after the Janissaries formed ranks around their Sultan and charged the Hungarian Knights overwhelming them with superior numbers and martial discipline the tide had begun to turn after two hours of fighting.

The Ottoman reserves back at camp had finally rallied onto the battlefield and joined the Ottoman lines meanwhile the Romanian cavalry began to regroup with Vizier Ibrahim at the head the Ottomans launched a fierce counter-attack pushing the Knights in the second line back towards their camp from here the Ottoman army advanced on both flanks to finish off the remaining foes the Romanian cavalry encircled the Knights from behind while the Janissaries and reserves overwhelmed what remained of the footmen.

The Hungarians Army

Hungarians were Talese warmed by overwhelming Ottoman numbers surrounded in separate little pockets and massacred the battle had ended in a great victory for Suleiman at a complete disaster for the Hungarians when the battle seemed lost King Lewis had attempted to flee in the chaos his horse had thrown him into the flooded chilly brook and his heavy Armour had dragged him to a watery grave the battle at mow hatch was an abject disaster for the Hungarian Kingdom whose government was now effectively annihilated while sauce is very it is generally accepted that anywhere from 14,000 to 20,000.

Hungarian soldiers were slaughtered in the initial battle with thousands being taken prisoner and beheaded the next day Suleiman could not believe he’d destroyed the entire Hungarian army so quickly he had expected more out of a kingdom that was once a formidable and powerful foe he kept his forces stationed at mow hatch for a few days after the battle expecting more enemy forces to arrive when none came he advanced to the city of Buda taking it with almost no resistance while Suleiman ordered the city to be spared sources claimed that his army looted.

Battle of Mohacs

Burned it anyway the victorious Ottoman army then withdrew back to Constantinople carrying with them the spoils of war after the battle the mortified Hungarian Nobles were so divided and panicked they elected new Kings simultaneously one was Ferdinand the First of Austria brother of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles v the other was John Sequoia with the help of the Habsburgs Ferdinand took advantage of the ensuing power vacuum and seized Hungarian territory in Bohemia.

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The northwestern part of Hungary proper meanwhile Zipporah endeared himself to Suleiman agreeing to vassal eyes under the Ottomans who became the Sooze reins of his realm in Transylvania the Battle of mohács marks the end of Hungarian independence with all of its former territory now under Habsburg or Turkish Dominion for Suleiman the victory has not created a springboard for the invasion of Europe as he had hoped but instead formed a borderland between the Ottomans.

The Holy Roman Empire set the stage for centuries of Habsburg Ottoman warfare but perhaps the most significant legacy of this defining engagement is the effect it had on the national consciousness of the Hungarian people who to this day when faced with bad fortune are too the words more was lost at mow hatch we have recorded a podcast on the early structure and administration of the Ottoman Empire.

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