Battle of Zvolen (1703)

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Battle of Zvolen
Part of Rákóczi's War of Independence
Date November 15, 1703
Location Zvolen, Upper Hungary (today Slovakia)
Result Kuruc (Hungarian) victory
Civil Ensign of Hungary.svg Kurucs (Kingdom of Hungary) with Slovak and Rusyn rebels
Royal Standard of the King of France.svg Kingdom of France
Polish and Ruthenian mercenaries, and Moravian artillerymen
Flag of the Habsburg Monarchy.svg Habsburg Empire
Flag of Denmark.svg Kingdom of Denmark
Flag of Serbia 1281.svg Vojvodian Serbs
Civil Ensign of Hungary.svg Royalists
Commanders and leaders
Civil Ensign of Hungary.svg Miklós Bercsényi general
Civil Ensign of Hungary.svg László Ocskay brigadeer
Civil Ensign of Hungary.svg Sándor Királyi general
Civil Ensign of Hungary.svg Simon Forgách general
Civil Ensign of Hungary.svg János Bottyán general
Civil Ensign of Hungary.svg Antal Esterházy general
ca. 15,000 Unknown

The Battle of Zvolen (Hungarian: Zólyomi csata, German: Schlacht bei Altsohl, Slovak: Bitka pri Zvolenu) was a battle between the Kuruc's and the army of Habsburg Monarchy in November 15, 1703 at Zvolen in Upper Hungary (modern day Slovakia). General Miklós Bercsényi was routed the Asutrian army under Simon Forgách. Forgách in 1704 went over to the Kuruc side.


Francis II Rákóczi in June 15 sparked off the war the independence against Emperor Leopold I. First Rákóczi found little support in Hungary and also the nobility and peasants fought against the Kurucs. Miklós Bercsényi soon brought mercenaries from Poland, Moldavia and the Ruthenian (Western Ukrainian) regions. The Kuruc forces and his mercenaries (with the Slovak and Rusyn minorities) pushed forward into the Austrian border. In September 17 Levice captured by the Kurucs, but the Austrian army recaptured in October 31.

Opposing forces[edit]

László Ocskay brigadeer joined Bercsényi after the capture of Levice. The Kuruc and Austrian army was mostly cavalry. The Kuruc forces have irregular Hungarian and Slovak horsemen, some regular horsemen, well-trained Polish and Ruthenian cavalry, some thousand veteran haiduks from Great Turkish War, French officiers and soldiers, and Moravian artillerymen with obsolete guns. Bercsényi's lieutenants was Sándor Károlyi and Ocskay.

In the Austrian army twoo regiment infantry with muskets, some platoons of Serbian fusiliers from Vojvodina, Hungarian Royalists and Danish dragoons. His commanders was also Hungarians: Forgách, Bottyán the Blind and Antal Esterházy (later everyone Kuruc commanders).

In both camps were disagreements between the commanders. Another Austrian army was in Bystrica under Leopold Schlick, just celebrated his name day, assist those not bothered about Forgáchs.

The battle[edit]

The Kuruc and Austrian army glared at each other for a long time. The thirst tormented the troops, there was little water. Before the battle Bottyán and Ocskay dueled, and both injured. In the battle the Kuruc forces repulsed the Austrians and their allies.

After the battle Austrians locked themselves in Zvolen. Bercsényi tried to starve them. During the night, most of the army tried to break out of the castle. But Ocskay raided the Austrians and destroyed them; very small soldiers reached the camp of Schlick in Bystrica.


The wounded Bottyán was the Zvolen castle for three weeks. In December 7 surrendered in exchange for free getaway. The Kurucs occupied the country between Levice and Zvolen, and in several battles defeated the Austrian, Danish and Serbian forces.