Battle of Ula
|Battle of Ula|
|Part of the Livonian War|
|Grand Duchy of Lithuania||Tsardom of Russia|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Mikołaj "the Red" Radziwiłł||Pyotr Ivanovich Shuysky †|
|Casualties and losses|
The Battle of Ula or Battle of Chashniki was fought during the Livonian War on 26 January 1564 between the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Tsardom of Russia on the Ula River (tributary of the Daugava River) north of Chashniki in the Vitebsk Region. The Lithuanian surprise attack resulted in a decisive defeat of the numerically superior Russian forces.
Background and battle
Livonia was invaded by the Russian army of Tsar Ivan IV. After the defeat in the Battle of Ergeme in 1560, the weakened Livonian Order was dissolved and the Duchy of Livonia and Duchy of Courland and Semigallia were ceded to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania according to the Treaty of Vilnius (1561). Russia then launched a campaign against Lithuania, capturing Polotsk in February 1563 and threatening further invasion against Vilnius, the capital city. The Lithuanians attempted to negotiate a truce, but the talks failed in November 1563. Two Russian armies, commanded by Pyotr Ivanovich Shuysky and Pyotr Semenovich Serebryany-Obolensky were to meet near Orsha and jointly march against Vilnius. Mikołaj "the Red" Radziwiłł, Grand Lithuanian Hetman, attacked the Shuysky's army while it marched from Polotsk to Drutsk. A small Lithuanian detachment engaged the vanguard units, while the main forces attacked the Russian troops in marching formation. Caught unprepared, the Russians were soundly defeated. Russian commander Pyotr Shuysky was killed in action, while three other boyars were taken prisoners and much loot was taken.
In the following days the army of Serebryany-Obolensky was attacked by Filon Kmita and Jurgis Astikas near Orsha. Believing that they were attacked by the main Lithuanian forces, the Russians hastily retreated. These two victories averted the Russian invasion and restored power balance in the Livonian War. The Lithuanians devastated a wide area around Sebezh, but did not have enough momentum to recapture Polotsk. The Lithuanians used this victory to derail negotiations for the Union of Lublin, which were initiated in hopes to obtain Polish military support in the war with Russia. The defeats contributed to further deterioration of Tsar Ivan's mental state, leading to the establishment of Oprichnina in 1565.
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