Selected Passages from Hungarian-Ottoman Wars between 1372-1699

1587: Nádasdy Ferenc and Zrínyi György’s victory at Kacorlak

Lord Nádasdy

One could already see from the increasing number of Ottoman raids in 1587 that the “peace” period is soon coming to an end. Anyway, the Peace of Edirne was only about „major” campaign: the nature of the Ottoman Empire was to wash away the borders in a ceaseless „small war”. But now, both the Turks and the Hungarians were more active in attacking each other than before.
As for Lord Nádasdy Ferenc (1555-1605), the „Strong Black Bey” or „the Black Knight of Hungary”, he ambushed the castle of Koppány in February and took it. (He, the husband of Lady Báthory Erzsébet, deserves a stand-alone post later.)

Kanizsa castle

On the other hand, the combined forces of the Sanjaks (Ottoman regions) of the southern-Trans-Danubian Region, attacked the area of Kanizsa Castle in August. Bey Kara of Koppány met Bey Sejszüfár (Sásvár) of Szigetvár on 8 August in Szigetvár Castle, along with the beys of Mohács and Pécs Castle. They decided to launch an attack with 5,000 riders around Letenye and Lendva on 13 August. Zrínyi György (or in Croatian, Juraj Zrinski) received intelligence about this plan so he summoned the soldiers of the neighboring castles and summoned Batthyány Boldizsár, Nádasdy Ferenc, Huszár Péter the Captain of Pápa as well.

Berenhidai Huszár Péter, a contemporary drawing

Meanwhile, the Turks were destroying the area undisturbed, killing the garrison of Lendva who were the only ones who tried to resist them. Their heroic death gained time for the Christian forces. Zrínyi, in order to cut the road of withdrawal towards Szigetvár Castle (now in Turk’s hands), had the bridges of the Zala River destroyed and hid 3,000 soldiers around Kacorlak-Gelse, and placed 3,000 troops in reinforcement. It was a typical trap played on the Borderland. The Turks often used it, too. Here is more about the life of Huszár Péter:

When the Bey saw the ruined crossing places, he realized the trap so he decided to sally out. Yet, the attempt was failed in the early morning and they were caught between two fires. A fierce battle has been developed and finally, the troops of Zrínyi have pushed the enemy into the Zala River.

Hungarian cavalryman (drawing: Somogyi Győző)

Meanwhile, German and Hungarian musket-men were shooting at them from the opposite bank so only a very few of the Turks could flee. More than 2,000 Turks fell and 1,300 were captured. The Hungarians could take the supplies and the booty as well.
Many chief Turks fell on the battlefield, like Bey Szinan of Mohács or Bey Hasszán of Koppány. Many of them were captured, like Bey Naszuf of Berzence or Bey Ali of Pécs, along with many Ottoman officials, beys, and aghas. The ill-reputed Sehszüvár could hardly flee across the marshlands.

Several hundreds of peasants arrived on the following day to bury the dead.  The prisoners of war were taken to Kanizsa, they were to be ransomed in exchange for lots of money. It was an important victory and it was celebrated all over the country, and Zrínyi was declared its main hero.

Lord Zrínyi György (Juraj Zrinski)

This time, the Court from Vienna (Prague, in fact) sent nice words of praise to the commanders. (In other cases, they had always threatened the Hungarians with punishments in case they raided the Turks.) The career of Bey Sehszüvár has been finally broken with this defeat and he was summoned to Istanbul where he was arrested. Yet, he was able to buy himself out with his money. Shortly after this, he died suspiciously; Balassi Bálint suspected that he may have been poisoned.  Here I wrote more about the renegade Bey Sasvár:

Source: Nádasdy Banderium and Szibler Gábor

Here, you can read more about the Zrínyi family:

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