The Long War, Part Six / November-December 1593
The re-taking of the castles of Nógrád and Gömör County
The fights ended in the Trans-Danubian Region of the Hungarian Kingdom but the military actions were still going on in the Upper Lands of North Hungary. To learn more about these fights, please check out the previous post:
Pasha Kirli Haszán of Temesvár (Timisoara) has launched an attack against the castles of Kálló and Szatmár (Satu Mare). He had to turn back, though, because Prince Báthori Zsigmond of Transylvania (namely the vassal of the Sultan) refused to join him. Note, this refusal is a sign of the growing independence of the Transylvanian Principality.
Pasha Hasszán had to hurry, as the Hungarian Hussars of the Trans-Tisza River Region were in his footsteps, led by Country Judge Báthori István of Ecsed. Báthori István was from a different branch of the Báthori family, he served the Habsburg king, nevertheless, he was related to the Transylvanian prince as well. Soon, he was joined by the troops of the Chief Captain of Kassa (Kosice) Christoph Teuffenbach and the rest of the troops from the Upper Lands, growing as strong as 12-16,000 men. The combined army took the small palisade fort of Szabatka (at Rimaszombat / Rimavska Sobota) after a few days of bombardment on 18 November. They slaughtered all the defenders upon taking the castle. You can read about it here:
After this, they set out against the strong Fülek Castle which was the center of an Ottoman administrative unit, a Sandjak. (The size of a Sandjak was usually covering the area of the previous Hungarian county.) In Fülek, there were 1,000 defenders who were fighting valiantly between 19-27 November. The Pasha of Temesvár and the Pasha of Buda sent reinforcing armies but they failed to surprise the besiegers. On the contrary, the Hungarians succeeded in surprising them in the dawn of 27 November when they ambushed the reinforcing Turk army. They were led by Báthory and the army consisted of troops from the Borderland`s Hussars. The Turks suffered a major defeat halfway between Fülek (Filakovo) and Romhány (in the Cserhát mountains).
In the meantime, Teuffenbach went on with the siege of Fülek. Soon, the troops of Pálffy Miklós (5-8,000 men) returned from the Trans-Danubian Region and the castle surrendered on 27 November. The Turks were not harmed and they were escorted (700 Turkish guards and their family members) to Szécsény Castle. Hearing the fall of Fülek, the smaller forts were surrendered to the Christians, the Turks left them. Szécsény Castle also surrendered, and the soldiers of Teuffenbach arrived there on 3 December. Then the Chief Captain of Kassa returned to his headquarters and Báthori to the Trans-Tisza Region.
On the way home, Pálffy took the (emptied) Drégely Castle on 7 December. In fact, the Ottomans had ruined the old castle in 1552 so much during the famous siege that it was never used again. Instead, they built a palisade fort around the church of the village. It was guarding the road toward the Valley of the Ipoly river, and also the road leading to the north, toward the Mining Towns District. The new fort was called Palánk. (The place is now called Drégelypalánk.) Pálffy appointed Nagy Ferenc to command Drégely and Palánk castles. Later, the small palisade fort was reinforced but Drégely castle was not. The palisade had to repel several Ottoman attacks. Here is more about the history of Drégelypalánk:
During the three-week-long campaign, they had taken 12 castles altogether: Szabatka, Fülek, Drégely, Divény, Ajnácskő, Kékkő, Szécsény, Hollókő, Somoskő, Palánk, Buják, and Hídvég. You can find almost all of them on my page with pictures and their history. You can read more about Pálffy Tamás, the elder brother of Pálffy Miklós here:
All in all, by the end of 1593 the Turks have been able to obtain some important castles of the Southern Trans-Danubian Region (Veszprém, Palota) while the Christians succeeded in taking back some forts in the north which were strategically less important. At the same time, the more disciplined though smaller Christian armies were able to defeat the Turks in three open battles on the field: at Sziszek, Fehérvár, and Romhány. Defeating the so-far “invincible” Ottomans in open battles has contributed to the improvement of the Christian army’s morale.
The following year was going to be harder as the stakes were higher.
(Source: Szibler Gábor)
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