Battle of Lwów (1675)
|Battle of Lwów|
|Part of the Ottoman-Commonwealth War|
Polish Hussar on a painting by Józef Brandt
|Ottoman Empire||Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Ibrahim Shyshman||John III Sobieski|
|~10,000||~6,000 (2,000 cavalry, 4,000 infantry)|
|Casualties and losses|
Battle of Lwów or Battle of Lesienice refers to a battle between the armies of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Ottoman Empire that took place near the city of Lwów (nowadays Lviv, western Ukraine) on August 24, 1675.
Before the Battle
In the early summer of 1675 the Turkish forces of Ibrahim Shyshman (Abraham the Fat) crossed the Polish border and started its rapid march towards Lwów along the banks of the Dnister. The army numbered some 20.000 men and was composed of Turkish infantry and cavalry with significant Tatar detachments. The Polish king John III Sobieski decided to concentrate his troops in and around Lwów and face the assaulting Muslim armies after more reinforcements arrived. The Turkish commander was notified of the concentration and sent a detachment of approximately 10.000 men of the Tatar forces to stop it.
The Polish king gathered 6.000 men. Approximately 1.700 of them were Hussars while the rest were composed of infantry, dragoons and light cavalry. In the early morning of August 24 the reconnaissance units encountered the Turkish columns quickly approaching the city of Lwów from the direction of the village of Gliniany (today's Hlyniany). The main road from the area of Gliniany passed through a plain surrounded by swamps on both sides. Shortly before reaching the city itself the road passed through hilly terrain. Sobieski predicted that the Tatars would have to reach the road by either of the two narrow valleys located nearby.
Sobieski decided to split his forces. A unit of 180 infantrymen, 200 light cavalry and several cannons was placed in the easternmost of the ravines leading to the road to Lwów. Most of the heavy cavalry were placed on the road itself, directly behind the valleys and the plain. The left flank of his forces was guarded by 200 Hussars stationed in the village of Zboiska, while the rest of the light cavalry and infantry guarded all other approaches towards the city in case the Tatars outflanked the defenders and attacked the city from other directions. The remaining taborites and civilians were ordered to group on the hills surrounding the plains. They were given spare lances of the Hussars in order to give the impression that the number of Polish troops was much higher.
Exactly as Sobieski predicted, the Tatars arrived on the plains at noon. Convinced that a large group of Hussars were hiding in the woods on the hills, Ibrahim Shyshman ordered a strong group of cavalry to reach the road through one of the ravines. They were stopped by the Polish infantry and then pushed back by a counter-attack of light cavalry. At the same time, Sobieski ordered all troops guarding other approaches towards the city to join the main forces located along the road.
The 1700-strong group of Hussars was joined by three banners (300 men) of Lithuanian light cavalry under hetman Michał Kazimierz Radziwiłł. Sobieski ordered the cavalry group to advance through the unguarded western gorge. The ravine was relatively narrow and the Turks could not outflank the Polish and Lithuanian cavalry while on the move. After reaching the plain, Sobieski ordered his troops to form a battle line and ordered a cavalry charge which he led personally. After less than 30 minutes the battle was over with the Turkish lines broken, infantry surrounded and cavalry in retreat. The pursuit lasted until the dusk.
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (May 2008)|