Battle of Pločnik

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Coordinates: 43°12′07″N 21°21′20″E / 43.20194°N 21.35556°E / 43.20194; 21.35556

Battle of Pločnik
Part of the Ottoman wars in Europe
Central balkans 1373 1395.png
Central Balkans in 1373-1395. The battle was fought near Prokuplje.
Date 1386 (1387[1])
Location Pločnik
Result Serbian victory[1]
The first serious defeat for Ottoman army in the Balkans[1]
Ottoman invasion temporarily slowed in Serbia until First Battle of Kosovo
Belligerents
Grb Lazarevic.png Serbian Principality Flag of the Ottoman Sultanate (1299-1453).svg Ottoman Empire
Commanders and leaders
Miloš Obilić
Lazar Hrebeljanović
Şahin Bey[1] (Kula Şahin Bey)
Strength
~30.000[1] ~18,800
Casualties and losses
few[1] very heavy at least 13.000[1]

The Battle of Pločnik was fought in 1386[2] (or, according to other sources, in 1387[3]), at the village of Pločnik, near Prokuplje in today's southeastern Serbia, between the Serbian forces of prince Lazar Hrebeljanović and the invading Ottoman Turks of sultan Murad I.

Prelude[edit]

Battle of Pločnik was the second clash between the Ottomans and forces commanded by Lazar, the first being the 1381 Battle of Dubravnica, and this battle would precede the ultimate Battle of Kosovo in 1389. After Battle of Dubravnica, Sultan Murad I campaigned against the Karamanids and defeated its army near Konya. Serbian soldiers (from some vassal Serbian princes) accompanied the Ottoman Army. On the other hand some of the soldiers (including some Serbian soldiers) were executed because of looting civilian's property by disobeying the Sultan's order. The execution of these Serbian soldiers, aroused the hatred of the Serbs. Many Serb princes started to support Lazar Hrebeljanović against the Ottomans. At that time, one prince in Shkodër wrote a letter to the Sultan. In the letter this prince wrote that if the Ottomans sent some troops to Bosnia and Albania to protect him, he would recognise the sovereignty of the Ottomans and aid them. Murad I ordered one Akinji commander "(Kula)Sahin Bey" (that commander was not Lala Şahin Paşa) to prepare his troops.[1]

Battle[edit]

The Serbian army emerged victorious, although details of the actual battle are vague. Sahin Bey entered Serbia with 20.000 akinjis at that time he learned that Serbian princes had prepared an army to attack his troops. He advanced to Pločnik, near Prokuplje but he could not detect the position of that army. He believed that there was no army. At that time, many akinjis (about 18.000) lost their temper and began looting civilian properties in the surrounding villages by disobeying orders. Sahin Bey stayed alone with 2000 soldiers.[1] On the other hand the battlefield was observed by Serbian expeditionary forces.

Suddenly an allied army with 30.000 soldiers appeared, many of them were cavalry. The Serbian army used heavy knight cavalry charge with horse archers on the flanks.The Serbs first attacked the Ottoman center (2000 soldiers),although they were unprepared and tasted nasty shock to heavy Serbian knights,the outnumbered Ottoman center resisted for some time but later began to withdraw with Sahin Bey[1] who barely escaped with his life.

Then the Serbian army turned to the other 18.000 akinjis that were busy plundering; unprepared, ill-disciplined, surprised akinjis couldn't do anything without their general. Only 5.000 of them returned home alive.[1] More than 60% of the Ottoman army was destroyed.Miloš Obilić, who later became a hero in Serbian folklore because of his role in the Battle of Kosovo, was wounded by an Ottoman arrow in the battle.

Aftermath[edit]

This victory gained gave prestige to the Serbs and their rulers. It was this battle that made Murad consider the possibility of abandoning his Balkan campaign. However he decided to make one more powerful thrust aimed at the heart of the now seemingly revitilised Serbian Empire-Kosovo. The Serbian victory temporarily slowed the Ottoman invasion of the Balkans, and set the stage for the Battle of Kosovo between the two armies in 1389.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Kemal,Namık -Osmanlı Tarihi Cilt:1 (History of Ottoman Empire-Volume I) Page:200,219,250(Turkish)
  2. ^ Velikonja, Mitja. Religious Separation and Political Intolerance in Bosnia-Herzegovina, (Texas A&M University Press, 2003), 48. ISBN 1-58544-226-7
  3. ^ Evans, Arthur. Through Bosnia and the Herzegóvina on Foot During the Insurrection, (Longmans, Green and Co, 1877), lxiv.