Battle of Mišar
|Battle of Mišar|
|Part of First Serbian uprising|
|Serbian revolutionaries||Ottoman Empire|
|Commanders and leaders|
| Karađorđe Petrović
| Sulejman Paşa Skopljak
Mehmed-beg Kulenović †
Sinan-paša Sijerčić †
The Battle of Mišar took place from 12 to 15 August 1806, with a Serbian victory over the Ottomans. For months the Serbian insurgents remained entrenched in sconce fortification on field of Misar Hill and a pitched battle itself seemed suicidal from the Serbian standpoint since their army of 7,000-9,000 men stood against an Ottoman force some 40,000 strong.
Before the battle
Turkish army made its way toward occupied Belgrade. Karadjordje Petrović came to Mišar, and made his plans with rest of Serbian commanders. During following four days from Saturday to Thuesday, there were smaller clashes with Turkish scouts, but on the morning of Wednesday, the main event happened.
The sconce fortress
When Karadjordje arrived, he calculated the strategic position. He than made his decision, that the sconce fortification should be on top of Mišar hill, on the filed on the hill, between river Sava, the wood and villages Zabar, Jelenča and Mišar... The sconce fortification was placed in direction North-South with two of its corners where cannons were placed...
The fortress was made from earth in shape of square with norther side little surved from middle up to gun position.It had palisade as protection, and it had trenches around it. It had four cannons, from which one was a redan and a place to put powder and ammunition.
The fighting began on Misar Hill, with an opening charge of the Turkish Sipahi Cavalry followed by a charge of their infantry units led by the Bosniak kapetan Mehmed-beg Kulenović of Zvornik. The Serbian Rebels made a sconce fortification in form of square, which was 300x280 m in its dimensions and Karadjordje remained in fortification to keep moral of men. The fortification had trenches around it. It was idea that the leader of Rebels Karadjordje stay in fortification, while Serbian Cavalry wait the moment to attack led by Pop Luka Lazarevic and Milos Obrenovic. The Serbian sharpshooters were divided into two lines, and beside them were two lines of men that loaded the rifles. The shooters and gunners mowed down the first line of cavalry and panic struck the Turkish lines when the horsemen retreated into the infantry led by Mehmed-beg Kulenović of Zvornik. However, the Ottomans soon regrouped and engaged the Serbian infantry. At one point Serbian men struck panic and they all went on middle of sconce fortress, but Karadjordje took his sabre, and ordered them to get back on their posts. Then, Karađorđe Petrović signaled for the charge of the Serbian Cavalry from the opposite ends with two simultaneously cannon fire, to come and defeated the Ottomans on the field.
Serbian rebel cavalry, intended as a reserve were situated close to the ditch near village of Zabar.
Fights at Mišar lasted several days with mutual losses but the battle itself ended with the collapse of the Ottoman center and the exposure of the right and left columns.
Mehmed-beg Kulenović and the remaining Ottomans and Bosniaks continued asymmetric efforts against the advancements of the Serbian rebels. Than the Luka Lazarević charged with cavalry, broke the Turkish line, and the cavalry divided into two parts. One part charged boldly on Turkish artillery, the first rank was killed, but the rest killed all the artillery, and came to Turkish Headquarters, where Turkish chief in command Suleiman Pasa Skopljak was celebrating too soon. Mehmed-beg Kulenović of Zvornik and his Bosniak were killed on the battlefield. The remaining Turkish Bosniak army fled in panic from the battlefield. Some crossed Drina, some were killed, and some crossed Sava.
The battle could be considered part of Napoleon wars, since both Austria and Imperial France had their involvement, and followed events of the battle. Emperor Napoleon I sent some of his artilerymen to help Turks, and one good part of Serbian Rebels included Karadjordje were in Austrian Freikorps duriong Koča's Krajna. From his experience from that war Karadjordje knew all he needed to know about earth fortification and tactic. Also, on Austrian side of Sava river, officers of Austrian army and Serbian people in Vojvodina made a high outpost from which they could watch battle on other side.
Death of Mehmed-beg Kulenović
Some Serbian sources say that Mehmed-beg Kulenović of Zvornik or Kulen Captain, as Serbs refer to him, died in a duel with Pop Luka Lazarević during battle, in which Luka was wounded. Other sources say that Mehmed-beg was killed by some Serbian rifleman, who killed him by treason from ambush, after his duel with Pop Luka. Mehmed-beg is the central figure with his wife in epic poem by Filip Višnjić Boj na Mišaru, or Battle of Mišar, where Mehmed-beg's wife waits for news from battlefield, that is brought to her by two ravens that are a metaphor of Bosniaks from the army who fled to Bosna across the Drina.
Testimony by Sekula Gavrilović
One of men that were involved in battle, Sekula Gavrilović, told how it was during the battle. He said Karadjordje came to Mišar on Saturday. On Sunday there was a smaller clash with Turkish scouts, from Monday to Tuesday there was nothing, and on Wednesday the battle occurred. The testimony was written during 1810 by Isidor Stojanović, only four years after the battle, while Serbia was under rule of Karadjordje, but it was published as a commemorative in 1848.
The battle forced the Turks into retreat and provided a significant military and morale victory for the Serbian rebels.
- Serbia; The Revival of the Nation-State, 1804-1829, Suzana Rajic, Empires and Peninsulas: Southeastern Europe Between Karlowitz and the Peace of Adrianople, 1699-1829, ed. Plamen Mitev, Ivan Parvev, Maria Baramova and Vania Racheva, (Lit Verlag, 2010), 145.
- Tomislav Šipovac, Boj na Mišaru,61.pg,62.pg.
Leopold Ranke, Die Serbische Revolution pages 86.,87.