Hunyadi’s first large battle against the Turks, 1441
Having gained three high ranks, Lord Hunyadi János was full of the energies of an “upstart”. He was the Voivode of Transylvania and he was busily building out his network. It consisted of his family members, according to the custom of the age.
As the newly appointed Captain of Nándorfehérvár / Belgrade, he was frequently visiting the fort. We remember that Belgrade had been reinforced by the remaining men of the king and major construction works were taking place. Here you can read about this part of the history:
When Hunyadi was away in 1440 because his sword was needed to help the new king, Ulászló aka Władysław (1424-1444), the Ottomans tried to take Nándorfehérvár / Belgrade but they were repelled.
Bey Iszhák or Izsák (Isaac?) the new lord of Szendrő (Smederovo) Castle was destroying the area of the Száva river with a bigger army during the summer of 1441. To his bad luck, Hunyadi was visiting Belgrade at that time. Hunyadi decided to take revenge on him, hearing that the Bey’s new target is Belgrade itself.
Hunyadi summoned the army of Baron Újlaki Miklós who joined him. He took most of the soldiers from Belgrade with him and set out against the approaching enemy to get him while the Ottomans are on the march. It was easy to spot the coming enemy because the villages were burning where they showed up.
The Ottoman and the Christian advance guards clashed at the village of Császárhalma whereas Bey Iszhák attacked with his entire army at once, scattering the scouts.
It was when the heavy cavalry of Hunyadi and Újlaki showed up and withstood the Turks’ attack, then launched a strong counter-attack. They rushed at the main army of the Bey and after a short but fierce fight, they broke through the ranks of the Ottoman army. It was a typical charge of armored knights, slightly better disciplined than the rest, though.
Seeing the huge losses, Bey Iszhák ordered the retreat but it became a disorganized runaway. Hunyadi was pursuing the enemy until the gate of Szendrő castle, taking lots of captives. then, they returned with the booty to Belgrade / Nándorfehérvár.
Hearing the victory, the king organized a festivity for Hunyadi in Buda castle and expressed his thanks to Hunyadi and Újlaki in a letter, awarding them with new properties.
The main point was not just that Hunyadi’s military renown was growing further but this victory proved that the mighty Ottomans can be defeated in an open battle, they were not invincible.