19 September 1532, Pasha Kászim’s black day

Christian knights vs. Ottoman warriors, 16th century

The raiding parties of Pasha Kászim were defeated at Leobersdorf by the soldiers of Török Bálint, Bakics Pál, Count Frederick II of the Rhine, supported by the mercenary leader Sebastian Schertlin von Burtenbach. The enemy had 16-20,000 men while in the Christian army, there were 14,000 soldiers.

After the Siege of Kőszeg (Güns) castle, the army of Sultan Suleiman set out toward Vienna. At the same time, Pasha Kászim sent his Akindjis and Moldavian cavalrymen to Lower Austria and to Styria to raid the rich Austrian lands. There was great devastation and the plundering riders spread fear in the region. The other role of this contingent of the Sultan’s army was to defend the side of Suleiman’s main army. King Habsburg Ferdinand sent the Landsknechts and the armored cavalry of Fredrick and Burtenbach, along with the Hussars of Török Bálint and Bakics Pál aka Pavle Bakić.

Lord Bakics was a seasoned soldier who had fought bravely in the Battle of Mohács in 1526, and he had just joined King Ferdinand, leaving behind King Szapolyai. Ferdinand appointed him as the commander of his Hussar-body guard unit. Török Bálint used to be in command of the late King Louis’ bodyguards in the Battle of Mohács. In 1532, he was still on Ferdinand’s side, he returned to King Szapolyai only in 1536 when the Habsburgs ruler tried to assassinate him. 

The Battle of Leobersdorf 

There were 12,000 infantrymen, 1,000 German, and 1,000 Hungarian cavalrymen in the Christian army. They even brought cannons with them. As for the German cavalry and infantry, they moved very slowly and they did not understand the logic of Ottoman warfare. The fast Akindji riders might have even taken advantage of their lack of knowledge. Luckily, the presence of Hungarian Hussars decided the battle for the Christians. You can read more about the special role of the semi-heavy Hussar cavalrymen in the Battle of Mohács here:


Before the Akindji riders could be deployed in battle order, Burtenbach ordered an assault. The German and Hungarian cavalrymen held the Turks up while the landsknechts surrounded the Ottoman army. The Hussar riders had a significant role in keeping the fast Akindji riders in one place, so the quick enemy cavalrymen could not avoid the clash with the heavier cavalry. Many Akindjis died in the marshlands in the area, and only a few could escape from the trap. Pasha Kászim was also among the fallen, his sword and turban were sent to Emperor Charles V. 

Heavy cavalryman
All in all, the attacking Christian army, armed with cannons, was able to defeat a larger Ottoman army in a field battle but could not annihilate the whole Ottoman army. We have to add the role of Kőszeg castle’s heroic siege that had been delaying Suleiman, gaining time for the Christians who could prepare for the defense of Vienna. Not just Kőszeg and its brave Croatian captain, Jurisich was part of this but the local Croatian, Hungarian, and German folks in Vas County made the foraging impossible to the Ottoman army. Given this, Sultan Suleiman did not want to risk an open battle against the Christians so he turned back home. He decided to lead his army through Styria until he reached the Balkan. As for the “beautiful army” of the Christians, they were disassembled and the soldiers went home without chasing him.
Hungarian Hussars, 16th century
 (Source: Szibler Gábor)
It all happened 20 days after the last Ottoman general assault against Kőszeg castle. To find out more about that day, here is my article about it: 

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