Battle of Hermannstadt
|Battle of Hermannstadt|
|Part of the Ottoman wars in Europe
|Kingdom of Hungary||Ottoman Empire|
|Commanders and leaders|
György Lépes †
Simon Kamonyai †
|Mesid bey †
Shehabbedin Beylerbey of Rumelia
|10,000 men (Hungarians, Transylvanian Saxons, Vlach volunteers and Polish cavalry)||ar. 25,000 above all irregulars, and some regulars|
|Casualties and losses|
|3-4,000 killed||20,000 killed|
The Battle of Hermannstadt, also known as the Battle of Sibiu or the Battle of Szeben, was fought between the army of the Hungarian Kingdom and the Ottoman Turks on March 18 and March 25, 1442, near Sântimbru (Marosszentimre) and Hermannstadt (Sibiu, Szeben). The Hungarian forces were commanded by John Hunyadi. Hermannstadt was Hunyadi's third victory over the Ottomans after the relief of Smederevo in 1437 and the defeat of Ishak Beg midway between Semendria and Belgrade in 1441.
The Hungarian Kingdom in the 14th century was in conflict with the Ottoman Empire. Louis I of Hungary in Bulgaria was a match for the Turks, but the Wallachian voivods would not support the Hungarians.
In the Battle of Nicopolis the Ottoman army crushed the Hungarian-European crusaders and their Wallachian allies. In 1438 Ottoman marauders attacked Transylvania, where in 1437 the Ottomans had been beaten by an uprising under Antal Nagy de Buda. For up to 45 days the Ottomans without let or hindrance attacked the Transylvanian Saxon lands and Hungarian villages and market towns.
In 1441 John Hunyadi came to power. Hunyadi attacked the Ottomans in Serbia and at the Battle of Smederevo got the best of Ishak bey. Murad II wanted revenge, and gave the task to Mesid Bey in Transylvania.
The army of Mesid Bey numbered 17,000 men. He was joined by Shehabbedin Beylerbey of Rumelia. His forces allegedly quadrupled Mesid's army, but may actually have just been equal to Mesid's forces. Many were presumably not regular forces, but some were janissary and spakh.
Hunyadi's forces consisted of Hungarian, Transylvanian and Saxon forces, with some Polish and Romanian soldiers. The commander of the vanguard detachment was bishop György Lépes. Lépes was responsible for the outbreak of the Transylvanian peasant-revolt in 1437. Hunyadi's forces numbered about 10,000 men.
On March 18 Lépes' forces (2,000 men) clashed with Mesid near Sântimbru. The Ottomans won by forces of numbers and Hunyadi was forced to retreat, but Mesid did not pursue Hunyadi. Lépes was taken prisoner and Mesid beheaded the bishop.
Hunyadi's army regrouped near Hermannstadt. Simon Kamonyai swapped his armour for Hunyadi's armour so that the Turks would believe he was Hunyadi. Kamonyai was to execute a head-on attack, while Hunyadi went around Mesid's army. Kamonyai was killed in action, however Hunyadi with the Hungarian heavy cavalry charged Mesid, and crushed the Turks. Mesid was killed, while Shehabbedin escaped with the remaining Ottomans. Hunyadi was able to ransom Lépes's head with Mesid's head.
In the two battles, 3-4,000 Hungarian and 20,000 Ottoman soldiers were killed. Out of revenge Shehabbedin again entered Transylvania. In the Battle of the Iron Gate, near the Danube, he was defeated.
- A Global Chronology of Conflict: From the Ancient World to the Modern Middle East, Vol. I, ed. Spencer C. Tucker, (ABC-CLIO, 2010), 337.
- The Cambridge Illustrated Atlas of Warfare: The Middle Ages, 768-1487, ed. Nicholas Hooper, Matthew Bennett, (Cambridge University Press, 1996), 139.
- Pál Földi. Nagy hadvezérek ("Great Warlords"), Anno Publisher, ISBN 963-9066-66-4