10 July 1684 the Triumph at Szentendre
Emperor Leopold I of the Holy Roman Empire and King of Hungary and Bohemia appointed Charles V, Duke of Lorraine (Lotharingiai Károly) to lead the allied Christian forces. During the late spring of 1684, the Duke set out with his army of 40,000 men to take Buda castle back. They took back Visegrád castle after a few days of siege, then they defeated the army of Pasha Mustafa of Aleppo at Vác, on 27 June. The Duke also took the castle of Vác. It was a crushing victory, mainly because of the better artillery and firearms of the Imperials. The Duke lost only 50 men while the Ottomans 3,000 soldiers, the Hungarian Hussars cut down 700 of them.
After this fight, the Imperials rested for two days, then they set out toward Pest on the left bank of the Danube river on 29 June. The enemy gave up the town of Pest quickly but before withdrawing, they slaughtered every Christian inhabitant. They also burned the bridge behind themselves to prevent the Imperial army from crossing the river to the Buda side. You can read more about the town of Pest here:
Duke Charles and Rüdiger Starhemberg did not take the risk of assaulting Buda from the direction of Pest because they did not have enough soldiers. Finally, they took the advice of Louis of Baden. He suggested reinforcing Pest, then crossing the Danube a bit to the north, around Szentendre. They left 1,400 infantrymen and 300 cavalrymen in Pest and set out toward Vác where they could cross the river through a boat bridge. The crossing was successfully carried out on 8-10 July. Then, the whole army began marching toward Buda from the north.
Again, Pasha Mustapha of Aleppo made an attempt to hinder the Christian army’s way to Buda. He set out against them with 20,000 soldiers, 800 Janissaries, and two cannons. By the time they arrived at Szentendre, the Christian army had been waiting for them in battle order. The Imperials were deployed behind a marshland that was defending them. The left wing of the Duke stood next to the Danube while his right-wing took up positions on higher ground above the town of Szentendre.
Pasha Mustapha thought that he had faced only the vanguard so it was the reason why he ordered the launching of an attack. His plan was to surround the Christians from the left side but his troops ran into the two Dragoon regiments of General Caprara. They managed to block the Ottomans and even began to attack the enemy. You can read more about Dragoons on the Hungarian battlefields here:
At the same time, the entire Christian army came into motion. Duke Charles – the “silent prince” – advanced far ahead of his men and he was in serious peril of getting killed. Finally, the Imperials seized the victory but the Ottomans remained on the battlefield all day long. They left for Buda only at night. The Ottoman army made camp south of Buda at Érd, at a place called Hamzsabég. As we can see, the fighting morale of Mustapha’s army was still unbroken in spite of the two defeats that they had suffered at Vác and at Szentendre. At Hamzsabég, they were waiting for the call of Pasha Kara Mehmed and Sejtán Ibrahim of Buda in case they were needed in the castle.
The Christian army began the siege of Buda on 14 July 1684. However, the systematic siege was being hindered by the Serdar’s army that was at Érd (not too far from Buda), under the command of Pasha Mustapha of Aleppo. Thus, Duke Charles decided to eliminate this threat. He set out on the dawn of 22 July 1684, leading 30,000 German and Hungarian cavalrymen. His goal was to scatter the Serdar’s approximately 20,000 Ottoman cavalrymen. He succeeded in beating them for the third time but Buda could not fall just yet. They had to wait two more years for that.
You can read about the third victory that Duke Charles of Lorraine achieved at Érd here:
Source: Szibler Gábor
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