Selected Passages from Hungarian-Ottoman Wars between 1372-1699

The Long War, Part Seven / the Battle of Tura, 1594

A cavalry formation of the Imperial army, armed with lances, 1593 (British Museum)

A duel from 1593: a short prelude to the events

The duel of  Zrínyi György aka Juraj IV Zrinski /George IV Zrinski/ (1549-1603) and Szokolovics Haszán at Székesfehérvár castle must be mentioned as both of them played leading roles in the time to come.

Juraj IV Zrinski / Zrínyi György

After the battle of Pákozd, the allied Christian forces could go towards Székesfehérvár which they had wanted to take.
György (IV.) Zrínyi, the grandson of Miklós Zrínyi, the Hero of Szigetvár, was there in the army with his troops.
It was recorded about him that he had a duel with the Serbian Pasha called Szokolovics Hassan whom he injured with his saber and then, he thrust him. He would have killed him but the Pasha’s valiant soldier interfered into the fight. The Turk soldier’s horse pushed Zrínyi aside and thus he could help the heavily wounded Pasha. Although Zrínyi fell to the ground, he did not get hurt but this time was enough for Hassan’s soldiers to get him out from the peril. You can read about similar duels here:


The Battle of Tura, 1 May 1594 and the further success of the Christian army during the spring

western warfare in the late 16th century

Archduke Matthias was leading the debate of the Military Council at Győr during the first part of 1594 and General Hardegg suggested him to take Veszprém Castle and Palota Castle back while Pálffy proposed the taking of Nógrád Castle. Finally, the Archduke has taken Pálffy`s advice and appointed Pálffy as his Vice-Chief Commander.

Nógrád castle today

The attack was launched during the early days of the spring by the Imperial-royal troops which were located closer to the Frontier. Pálffy led an army of about 20-21,000 men to Nógrád castle on 7 March. The defenders had only 800 soldiers but they received the Christians with strong artillery fire but the cannons of Leo Gall answered them soon, causing huge destruction in the walls. The garrison has been reduced to 450 warriors. The Ottomans surrendered the fort and left it undisturbed on 10 March. Later, Pasha Sinan had Karaferi Mehmed, the Bey of Nógrád Castle hanged for this deed.

In the meanwhile, the troops of György Zrínyi were advancing through the South Trans-Danubian Region. There was Nádasdy Ferenc among them with the soldiers of the Hungarian high nobility. They were supposed to gather at Kanizsa on 20 March and about 7-10,000 warriors have come together. Their first target was the Castle of Berence; they assaulted it on the night of 22 March but the Turks surrendered only on the following day. The besiegers found there a significant amount of food and military equipment piled up. 

Berence / Presnitz castle

The next target was Csurgó Castle whose guards hadn`t waited for their arrival of the Christians but set the fort on fire and fled. Zrínyi was able to salvage only 11 cannons from there. The Palisade fort of Segesd was taken on the same day, on 24 March. Two days later the Christians have obtained the burned castle of Szőcsény. Then, they tried to take the strong castle of Babócsa but they were being hindered by the flooding waters of the Rinya Stream.

It was lucky for Babócsa castle because Archduke Matthias soon summoned Zrínyi and his fellow officers to the military camp of Győr City. It was how Babócsa was not taken. You can read more about Babócsa here:

Yet, this campaign had been able to push back the borders of the Ottoman Occupied Lands with 70 kilometers and the Castle of Kanizsa was a bit relieved because of this.

The area of Kanizsa castle at Lake Balaton in the 17th century

The next military moves were carried out by the plans of Prépostváry Bálint, Captain of Eger castle; the Imperial troops attacked the Ottomans from three directions. Archduke Habsburg Matthias was heading against Esztergom Castle while the army of the Upper Lands was led by Teuffenbach towards Hatvan castle and Archduke Maximilian (Hungarians called him Miksa) was fighting in Croatia so as to take back castles there. Here is more about Hatvan castle:

Hatvan in 1596

The army of the Upper Lands consisted of 15-20,000 men and they besieged the strong Hatvan castle in the second part of April. Upon taking Jászberény, they arrived in Hatvan and it was the time when the reinforcing army of the Rumelian Beglerbey, Szinánpasazáde Mehmed has arrived there as well. Teuffenbach went on with the siege while the Hussars of Forgách Simon set out against the coming Ottomans. They met on 1 May at Tura. Although the Turks outnumbered the Christians and had caused losses in the German heavy cavalry during the first part of the battle, the Hussars of Báthori István attacked the center where the Pasha was standing and it has decided the battle. Mehmed has fled.

At the same time, the Pasha of Buda, Szokolluzáde Haszán tried to fight on but he had to withdraw because of the charge of Forgách cavalry. The Ottomans lost 3-4,000 men and the Christians 100-200 soldiers. The siege of Hatvan was going on but they could show up no result even in the middle of June because of the persistent defense of the Turk garrison. As Pasha Sinan was advancing, Archduke Matthias gave the order to quit the siege and Teuffenbach has moved away relentlessly. They had to wait until 1596 to take this town but nobody would have foreseen the sad consequences of it.

An Imperial cannon from 1593 (British Museum)

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