Battle of Tarcal

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Battle of Tarcal
Part of the Hungarian campaign of 1527-1528
Date 27 September 1527
Location near Tarcal, near Tokaj, in Hungary
Result Austrian victory
Hungarian Kingdom of Szapolyai, Transylvanians, Serbs Habsburg Monarchy
Holy Roman Empire and the Habsburg-party Hungarians
Commanders and leaders
János Szapolyai Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor,
Niklas Graf Salm,
Bálint Török
7-8,000 6,000
Casualties and losses
5,000 Minimals

The Battle of Tarcal or Battle of Tokaj (Hungarian: Tarcali csata) was a battle fought on 27 September 1527 between the Habsburg-German-Hungarian forces of Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor and an opposing Hungarian army under the command of János Szapolyai. Taking place near Tokaj, the encounter culminated in the defeat of Szapolyai's forces.


Following the death of Hungarian King Louis II at the Battle of Mohács, Hungarian nobility elected Szapolyai as their new king. Others,[who?] however, including the Croats, elected then Austrian Archduke Ferdinand to the post, and conflict began.

The battle[edit]

Szapolyai's army, numbering around 7-8000 men, consisted of mainly Hungarian, Transylvanian, and Serbian forces. The army led by Ferdinand, including his own Hungarians supporters, numbered 18 000 men, though 6000 were under the command of Niklas Graf Salm and Bálint Török. On 26 September Szapolyai encamped near Tokaj. German forces engaged with, and defeated a small Szapolyai contingent in a skirmish near Sajólád.

On 27 September intensive fighting broke out as Szapolyai attempted to decisively defeat Ferdinand's forces. His attempt was stymied, however, when Serbian troops overwhelmed the Styrian forces manning his army's right wing, while German and Austrian mercenaries swept through Szapolyai's cavalry. Hungarian hussars fighting for Ferdinand then broke through the central ranks of Szapolyai's army, seized his camp, and drove his remaining soldiers to the river Tisza.


After his defeat at the hands of Ferdinand's forces, Szapolyai retreated to Oradea, where he raised a new army. Ferdinand thought he conquered all of Hungary, but in 1528 was confronted by Szapolyai once more, this time coming from Transylvania. At the Battle of Szina Ferdinand once again defeated Szapolyai, who fled to Poland. Szapolyai would later ask for the help of Ottoman sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, who, in 1529, obliged by dislodging the Germans of Hungary and besieging Vienna.



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