Selected Passages from Hungarian-Ottoman Wars between 1372-1699

1575: the warriors of Kanizsa castle laid a trap

It happened yesterday in Hungarian history:
19 October 1575; the warriors of Kanizsa Castle laid a successful trap to the Ottomans.


 

Before translating the story found by Szibler Gábor into English, let me tell you a short explanation.

These “traps” (in Hungarian they were called “les”, meaning “ambuscade”) were happening every day on the 1,000-mile-long Borderland between the Ottoman Empire and Royal Hungary. Lurking the enemy into a trap with the help of a “bait” (“martalék”), namely sending forward a few riders who led the enemy to the place of the ambush, was in practice by both the Hungarians and the Ottomans.

The Borderland was not defended merely by its castles and forts: as the saying went, “a castle can be defended only in the field”. And it meant continuous cavalry raids and patrols. It was the mobile warfare that was able to save the frontier of Europe throughout many generations. At the same time, these ambushes were driven by the lack of money. If the Hussars wanted to avoid starvation, they had to take valuable captives for getting a ransom. All the booties were divided into three parts: the king had a share, the families of the fallen warriors got their part, and finally, the soldiers. It had a quite strict rule among the members of the Valiant Order.


 

Also, these fights were mostly unrecorded military actions.
In the picture above, you can see Hungarian winged hussars from the 16th century, bringing home Ottoman heads. Note, this grim habit was practiced by Turks and Hungarians alike. The Habsburg kings paid gold for these trophies and so did the Ottoman sultans. Below, you can see the picture of Kanizs Castle in the 16th century, designed by Pazirik Kft.

I dare say that these clashes of the “small war” were just as important as the shiny victories or heroic last stands.

According to Szibler Gábor, the Hungarian Borderland guards of Kanizsa castle set out and rode after an Ottoman cavalry unit that was plundering the neighborhood.
As it had been snowing at night, they could track them down easily. So they rode on and set a trap before the Turks who ran into it. After a fierce fight, the enemy was defeated.
There were a few Hussars from Kiskomárom castle among the Hungarians who received 6 captives from the bounty. The riders from Kanizsa could take home 29 armored Ottoman Sipahies as captives and took other booties, including 40 horses.

 

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