Battle of Batih

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Battle of Batih
Part of the Khmelnytsky Uprising
Massacre of Polish captives after the battle of Batoh 1652.jpg
Massacre of bound prisoners after the battle of Batoh, from Hiob Ludolf in the collections of National Library of Poland
Date 1 – 2 June 1652
Location Batih Hill, Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, (today Ukraine)
Result Decisive Cossack-Tatar victory
Herb Viyska Zaporozkogo (Alex K).svg Zaporozhian Cossacks
Gerae-tamga.svg Crimean Tatars
Herb Rzeczypospolitej Obojga Narodow.svg Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
Commanders and leaders
Bohdan Khmelnytsky Marcin Kalinowski
25,000[1] 10,000–12,000[2]
Casualties and losses
1,000[3] 8,000[3]

The Battle of Batih (Batoh) was a battle in 1652 in which Polish forces under Marcin Kalinowski were defeated by a united army of Crimean Tatars and Ukrainian Cossacks.[4] Polish leaders who were killed included Marcin Kalinowski, his brother Crown Commander Samuel Jerzy Kalinowski, Zygmunt Przyjemski, Starosta of Vinnytsia Jan Odrzywolski, Starosta of Terebovlia Iurii Balaban, Starosta of Krasnostav Marek Sobieski and many other prominent noblemen.[5] A day after the battle, Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky, who commanded the unit of Zaporozhian Cossacks, offered Nuradyn Sultan 50,000 thalers for the right to execute the 8,000 Polish captives in revenge for Berestechko.[4] He also promissed him the town of Kamieniec for their transfer under his command.[4]

In the following two days all the prisoners were slain, with their hands tied behind their backs.[4] The long hours of methodical beheadings and disembowelments were so barbaric that even the Crimean leaders were horrified, not to mention international observers such as German historian Hiob Ludolf (president of the Collegium Imperiale Historicum), who illustrated the murder in his nominal Allgemeine Schau-Bühne der Welt published in 1713 in Frankfurt am Main.[4] Only a few Poles survived, hidden by their secret supporters, including Krzysztof Grodzicki and Stefan Czarniecki. The crime committed against so many disarmed prisoners had severe and long-lasting consequences for the history of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and for the Ukraine.[4]


"Thus the Treaty of Bila Tserkva was not ratified" by the Polish Diet, wrote Mykhailo Hrushevsky in his History of Ukraine published in 1909.[6] "That very winter, by permission of Hetman Khmelnytsky, the Crown troops were deployed by Crown [Field] Hetman Kalinowski, who assumed command after Mikolaj Potocki. For Potocki had died that fall. So Kalinowski's brother [Jerzy], also a Kalinowski, came to the Trans-Dnipro region...Kalinowski himself took up quarters in Nizhen...and the Lithuanian army took up quarters in the Starodub region."[6] "At the first news of the Berestechko debacle, the Muscovite government immediately opened its borders..." and, "...toward the spring of 1652...Ukrainians emigrated en masse."[7]

"Khmelnytsky mentioned as a casus belli the fact that the Poles had violated the peace agreement, wrote Hrushevsky, by 'annihilating the Cossack towns of Lypovets and Revukha' and that they were now preparing to make war on the Cossacks."[8] "Khmelnytsky...scheduled a great council at Chyhyryn during Easter week...which...included Cossack officers and Tatar delegates" and determined that since the Poles did not ratify the Treaty of Bila Tserkva, Khmelnytsky was released from his oath, and the "acts of violence and vengeance perpetrated by the landlords and Starostas' officials...demonstrated the total impossibility of any coexistence with the Polish elements."[9]

Kalinowski intended to use the Trans-Dnipro Crown army, which in April was ordered by John II Casimir Vasa to gather at Kalinowski's Bratslav camp, "to prevent the Cossack army's merger with the Horde" by blocking the Horde's march "into Moldavia to fight the Hospodar" Basil Lupu.[10] "Khmelnytsky sent his son", Tymofiy Khmelnytsky, "together with the Tatars to Moldavia, to take revenge militarily on that country's ruler for having sworn he would give his daughter in marriage to Khmelnytsky's son and then later refusing."[11]

However, the Crown army had only "crossed the river to Kyiv" on 14 June on its way to Kalinowski's corps, the Cossack army was already mobilized and merged with the Horde by the end of May, and Kalinowski met them on his own.[10] "The Polish hetman had chosen a flat plain near the Boh and Sob, one so large that the small Polish army could not maintain control of it...he insisted that there had to be room for the troops that were coming to join him: for the Trans-Dnipro Poles, a detachment of the palatine of Bratslav, Stanislaw Lanckoronski, and others that in the end did not manage to join him."[12] "Khmelnytsky, who had a horde of substantial size at his disposal this time, hurried to attack him before the Polish troops from across the Dnipro and other contingents arrived."[12]

The battle[edit]

"When the relatively small Tatar vanguard regiment appeared, the Polish cavalry attacked, beginning a battle that lasted through the first day (1 June).[12] During the battle, "Khmelnytsky's main forces arrived, and during the night they bypassed the Polish camp in such a way that the Poles did not notice."[12]

On the second day, the cavalry skirmishes resumed but soon Kalinowski "saw himself surrounded by Cossack and Tatar forces on all sides."[5] "The Cossacks broke through the endless line-more than a mile long-around the camp and entered into its midst."[5] "When its predicament became clear, the Polish army was swept by panic, insubordination, and mutiny."[5] "Some fifteen hundred of them fled", "some perished and others fell into the hands of the Cossacks and Tatars...Kalinowski himself was killed."[5]

The massacre[edit]

Main article: Batih massacre

After the battle, the Cossacks paid the Tatars for possession of the prisoners, and promptly slaughtered the Polish captives to avenge Chmielnicki's defeat at Berestechko in June 1651. Estimated 3,500–8,000 Polish soldiers were massacred. Other accounts state "Khmenytsky gave almost all the booty to the Tatars but took a certain number of prisoners for spare their lives" in one variant or in another variant, "in order to kill them".[13]


"The situation that existed after Korsun and arose once more" with the Polish forces "shattered...Poland defenseless and panic-stricken".[14] The Battle of Batih destroyed the best Crown units. Although Poland managed to rebuild her army soon after the battle, the loss of the most experienced troops resulted in temporary weakness in Ukraine. Defeat of the Poles contributed to the wars to come with Russia, which in turn resulted in the "Deluge" of the country by Swedish armies.


  1. ^ Ciesielski 2008, p. 16.
  2. ^ Ciesielski 2008, p. 21.
  3. ^ a b Ciesielski 2008, p. 39.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Hanna Widacka (2013). "Rzeź polskich jeńców pod Batohem" [Slaugher of Polish prisoners at Batih]. Historie makabryczne (Historical macabres) (in Polish). Muzeum Pałacu Króla Jana III w Wilanowie (Palace Museum in Wilanów). Retrieved 18 December 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Hrushevsky 1909, p. 476.
  6. ^ a b Hrushevsky 1909, p. 444.
  7. ^ Hrushevsky 1909, p. 449.
  8. ^ Hrushevsky 1909, p. 448.
  9. ^ Hrushevsky 1909, pp. 463–464.
  10. ^ a b Hrushevsky 1909, p. 470.
  11. ^ Hrushevsky 1909, p. 474.
  12. ^ a b c d Hrushevsky 1909, p. 475.
  13. ^ Hrushevsky 1909, p. 477.
  14. ^ Hrushevsky 1909, p. 478.