Battle of Myadel
|Battle of Myadel|
|Part of Russo-Polish War (1654–67)|
|Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth||Russian Tsardom|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Casualties and losses|
|200 POW, artillery, supply wagons|
Battle of Myadel was a battle of the Russo-Polish War (1654–67) which took place on February 8, 1659 near the Belarusian town of Myadzel. The Russian army of Novgorod led by Ivan Khovansky defeated the Polish–Lithuanians led by Mikołaj Judycki and Władysław Wołłowicz. As a result, the Polish-Lithuanian army retreated to the safety of the walls of Lyakhovichi.
At the end of 1658, significant Polish–Lithuanian forces placed themselves in the region of Myadel, an area which previously swore a loyalty oath to the Russian Tsar. Many of the nobles (szlachta), however, followed the appeal of Hetman Paweł Jan Sapieha to join the Commonwealth army. After the signing of the treaty of Valiesar the Russian army could bring its troops to Lithuania that were so far involved in fighting the Swedes. The Russians entered Lithuania and took Braslaw. Some Lithuanian szlachta once again switched the sides and deserted to the Russians. However, the Commonwealth army had still a considerable number of 6,000 soldiers.
On January 24, a Russian cavalry corps ("yertoul") counting up to 1,000 men was sent out to capture some prisoners who would provide important information on Lithuanians. The corps met the avantgarde of the Lithuanian army near the village of Postavy and smashed it, having captured the flag and many prisoners. Several days later, Khovansky with other troops caught up.
On January 29, the yertoul defeated another Lithuanian detachment near Myadel and pursued it until the town, killing many of its men. Here, the Russians met the main forces of the enemy. In the following clash, the Lithuanians began to prevail, however the Russian reinforcement of 1,000 cavalrymen of Khovansky arrived. Since the yertoul itself was relatively numerous with 1,000 men the Lithuanians believed the Khovansky army was much bigger and panic spread when Khovansky troops appeared on horizon. The effect was overwhelming: the mass of Lithuanians fled the battlefield, running for their lives, and stopped just in Novahrudak. The Russians pursued them up to 30 miles and captured the supply wagons, artillery and 200 men.
As a result of this victory, the Russian army took the strategic initiative and reclaimed its control of big parts of Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The Russian army command began planning an offensive on Warsaw. For the victory at Myadel, Khovansky got the title of a boyar and was made namestnik of Vyatka.
- Курбатов О.А. Морально-психологические аспекты тактики русской конницы в середине XVII века // Военно-историческая антропология: Ежегодник, 2003/2004: Новые научные направления. – М., 2005. – С. 193-213
- Курбатов О.А. Из истории военных реформ в России во 2-й половине XVII века. Реорганизация конницы на материалах Новгородского разряда 1650-х – 1660-х гг./Диссертация на соискание ученой степени кандидата исторических наук, М., 2002, стр. 103
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