Selected Passages from Hungarian-Ottoman Wars

1572 The unlucky raid at Zimánd

It was almost 500 years ago in the April of 1572 when the Hussars of the Borderland castles of Upper Hungary (from the Captaincy of Kassa / Kosice / Kaschau), namely the warriors of Ónod, Kassa, and Tokaj castles, had an unlucky raid towards Zimand.
Kassa in 1617
We can read about it in the Chronicle of Forgách Ferenc: (Please, note that I always use the Oriental name order for Hungarians where family names come first.) “Every year in April there is a great market held in the city of Zimánd which is in the southern part of the country. To sack this market, about 800 riders and infantrymen have come together from the castles of Tokaj and Kassa and from other castles of Upper Hungary.” You can read more about the life of the historian, Forgách Ferenc here:
Forgách Ferenc
The strange thing is that Zimánd was many hundred kilometers away from the north, in the Ottoman Occupied Land, near Arad Castle. So when the raid was being organized, the leaders had to know they would have to face many dangers because they had to count on the alert guards of the Ottoman-held castles of Gyula and Arad as well as the Turk horsemen patrolling along the Frontier, coming from the numerous Ottoman palisades and fortified places. Yet, the rich booty was very desirable.
Tokaj castle
The Chronicler went on: “This raid couldn’t have been kept in secret before the Turks not only because of the Turkish riders but also because the Hungarians were going to travel through villages which had been forced to pay taxes and it had to be collected, too. The raiding party took more than 300 horses from the town of Debrecen and they herded even more from other villages by force and they ambushed the market where lots of merchants had gathered to trade. They slew many people and captured many more and hoarded a rich booty, gold and silver, and all kinds of things whatever they wished for. They could not get far when the enemy appeared before them on the open field.”
The “Hungaries” (Kingdom of Hungary, the Ottoman Lands, and Transylvania) in 1580
It was a time of great havoc and panic. According to Forgách, although it is quite unlikely, there was not a leader among them and this fact caused their defeat. It is rather thought that the different Hussars from Tokaj, Kassa, and other places, wanted to listen only to their own officers. The problem or misunderstanding must have been among these officers, perhaps because of the booty, we don’t know for sure. One thing is for sure, the unit was slain by the Turks.
a Hungarian Hussar
Forgách concluded: “It was because they proceeded without a leader and order, riff-raff wanderers they had been who knew more about sacking than fighting who ran away in the first clash. After this, it was not a battle but rather a slaughter: almost all of them died or got captured…”
Hajdú soldiers plunder the peasants
The sources say it was in 1571 or in 1572 but the month is the same, it was in April. This military action was considered a major one from the Turks’ side as it was mentioned in the reports of the Imperial envoys Rhym and Peter Gruy in Istanbul. They reported that the Turks had brought 96 Hungarian prisoners of war, the following names were among them: Dóczy Gergely, Gyulay Balázs, Trombitás Ferenc, Nagy Sebestyén, as well as 130 heads on wagons and four flags.
Ottomans and Hussars were also taking heads, according to the habit
The richer captives were thrown into the dungeons in order to get a ransom for them but the common soldiers were sent to the galleys. Dóczy Gergely’s story is quite interesting because he was led to the Divan to hearing (he must have been an officer) where he told them that previously he had been captured by the Turks at the siege of Gyula in 1566 and it was Prince János Zsigmond of Transylvania who ransomed him for 3,000 gold Ducats which had been paid to Pasha Pertáv. While the prince was alive, Dóczy had served him but when he heard about the plan of the raid, he joined the Hussars of Upper Hungary and it was how he has been so unluckily captured again.
Magyar huszár a XVI.-ik században. Jost Ámán rajza után készült egykorú fametszet. Ernst Lajos gyûjteményének eredeti példányáról.
Source: Szerecz Miklós

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