The adventure of a few Hajdú warriors at Vác, 1594

Hajdú soldiers at the end of the 16th century

It happened 426 years ago: we can read about it in the report of Captain Prépostváry Bálint of Eger Castle (29 March 1594) he sent to Vienna to the Military Council where he described what sort of Hajdú adventure had happened at Vác without his knowledge and permit. Note, that I am using the Eastern name order for Hungarian names where family names come first. As for Eger Castle, you can read about it here:

According to his report, twelve Hajdú infantrymen joined forces with some of the Hajdú lads of the neighboring borderland forts in the North of Hungary, namely the soldiers of Hollókő, Ajnácskő, Szarvaskő castles. (You can read about Hollókő and Ajnácskő castles on my page, too.) Finally, all 72 of them set out against the Ottoman-ruled Vác castle. 

Vác castle at the Danube River

They successfully ambushed the town and made great havoc by breaking the gate in. Many Turks took to boats and fled before them on the Danube River. The Hajdú soldiers began to shoot everybody mercilessly whom they found in the castle. The surprise attack brought full success and the remaining Ottoman defenders wanted to surrender. Let us note, that 95% of the soldiers were not ethnically “Turks” in the Ottoman garrisons of the Occupied Lands of Hungary, the soldiers were mostly south-Slavic or Albanian mercenaries.

At this point, the Hajdú soldiers became confused and they didn’t know what to do because there wasn’t a single officer with them. Everybody wanted to do a different thing and time was just going on. They had been thinking until they were informed of the coming of the Ottoman reinforcement from Buda and other Turkish garrisons and they had set out to come to their comrades’ aid. Hearing this, the Hajdú soldiers quickly herded together all the cattle, and horses and put the booty on wagons, and as Captain Prépostváry wrote: “…they came home nicely and quietly.”

Ottoman troops

My remark: these hit-and-run spontaneous raids and fights caused lots of losses to the Ottomans; no wonder that a Turkish friend of mine wrote that the wars in Hungary were the “Vietnam War” for the Turks. Also, the underpaid warriors of the Borderland were forced to set out against the enemy to prevent starvation. They made the “Turk” villages pay taxes and pillaged the Borderland, causing lots of suffering to their own people because the Borderland was populated mostly by Hungarians.

They ambushed markets that were held under Ottoman control and took prisoners of war in exchange for ransom. This warfare, ignoring the eventual truces between the Turks and the Hungarians, had been constantly raging on along the 1,000-mile-long and 100-mile-wide Borderland since the arrival of the Ottomans in the 15th century. It hasn’t ceased to exist during the Long War, of course. You can read more about the 15-Year-War aka the Long War (1591/93-1606) here:

Source: Szerecz Miklós 

Hajdú soldiers

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