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Battle of Krbava field
Part of the Ottoman wars in Europe
Hundred Years' Croatian-Ottoman War
Sueleymanname Akinci-Beys.png
Ottoman Akincis in battle
DateSeptember 9, 1493
LocationKrbava field, southern Croatia
Result Decisive Ottoman victory[1]
Belligerents
Fictitious Ottoman flag 2.svg Ottoman Empire

Coat of arms of Hungary.svg Kingdom of Hungary

Croatian Chequy3.png Kingdom of Croatia
Commanders and leaders
  • Croatian Ban Mirko Derenčin
    *Ivan Frankopan Cetinski
    *Ferdinand Berislavić
    *Bernardin Frankopan
    *Petar II Zrinski
    *Karlo Gusić Krbavski †
    *Nikola VI Frankopan Tržački
  • Strength
    8,000 cavalry[3] 2,000–3,000 heavy cavalry[3]
    8,000 infantry[3]
    Casualties and losses
    ? 1,000 killed 8,000–10,000 killed
    1,500 POW[4]
    Much of the Croatian army and aristocracy wiped out[3]


    The Battle of Krbava field (Croatian language: Bitka na Krbavskom polju , Hungarian language: Korbávmezei csata) was fought between the Ottoman Empire of Bayezid II and a Croatian army of the Kingdom of Croatia in personal union with the Kingdom of Hungary on September 9, 1493 in the Krbava field, a part of Lika region, southern Croatia. The Ottoman forces were under command of Hadım Yakup Paşa, sanjak-bey of Bosnia, and Croatian army was led by Mirko Derenčin, ban of Croatia, who served under King Vladislas II Jagiello. The Kingdom of Croatia was during this period under the Hungarian crown of St. Stephen and the Croatian lords who fought in the battle were subjects of the unified crown. The battle resulted in the total defeat of the Croatian army.[5]

    Background[]

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    After the fall of the Bosnian Kingdom into Ottoman hands in 1463, the southern and central parts of the Kingdom of Croatia remained unprotected, the defense of which was left to the Croatian gentry who kept smaller troops in the fortified border areas at their own expense. The Ottomans meanwhile reached the river Neretva and having conquered Herzegovina in 1482, they found their way toward Croatia, skillfully avoiding the fortified border towns. Through the conquest of the Kingdom of Croatia, the Ottoman light cavalry pushed its way towards the towns of Carinthia and Carniola, threatening thus to a border area of Venice as well.

    Preparations[]

    In order to stop such invasions, in the summer of 1493 the Croats attempted to rally their troops under the command of Ban Mirko Derenčin (Hungarian language: Imre Derencsényi) at Krbava field (near today's Udbina) in central Croatia, and lay in wait there to trap the Ottomans. Meanwhile, the Ottoman sanjak-bey Hadım Yakup Paşa with some 8,000 Akıncı (Turkish light cavalry) were returning from an expedition to Styria and Croatian Zagorje. The Croatian feudal army under the command of Viceroy Derenčin at Krbava field had some 2,000 heavy feudal cavalry and some 8,000 infantry from all parts of Croatia.

    Battle[]

    The Croatian army rushed at the Ottomans after the Turks had lured them into the open plains. The Ottoman forces were at first pushed back. A bit later, the Turkish light cavalry which had the advantage over heavy feudal cavalry, surrounded the Croatians from the front, one flank and rear. Then the Croatian army suffered a total defeat in which the cream of the old Croatian nobility perished to a man, including Mirko Derenčin.[6]

    Aftermath[]

    The defeat was resounding. In one single day, around 7,000 Croatian soldiers lost their lives, including many of Croatian feudal nobleman of the time (princes/dukes Ivan Frankopan Cetinski, Petar II Zrinski and Karlo Gusić Krbavski, then Juraj Vlatković, ban of Jajce, Ferdinand Berislavić etc.), and some others were captured (Mirko Derenčin and his son, Nikola VI Frankopan Tržački). Prince Bernardin Frankopan was among few survivors. The defeat at Krbava field shook all the social strata in Croatia; however it did not dissuade the Croats from making even more decisive and persistent attempts at defending themselves against the attacks of the much more powerful enemy. Following the battle, scores of Croatian refugees moved toward Austria while others migrated to Italian coastal areas.[6]

    Notes[]

    1. Eastern Europe: An Introduction to the People, Lands, and Culture By Richard C. Frucht, pg. 422
    2. Starine. Akademija. 1937. p. 139. http://books.google.com/books?id=bJ4kAQAAIAAJ. Retrieved 10 March 2013. 
    3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Cadogon Guides Croatia, by James Stewart, 2006, p.12
    4. Battle of Krbava field (Croatian)
    5. Democratic Transition in Croatia: Value Transformation, Education & Media By Sabrina P. Ramet, Davorka Matic, pg. xii
    6. 6.0 6.1 Croatia: A History By Ivo Goldstein, Nikolina Jovanovic, pg.31

    References[]

    • Fred Singleton, A Short History of the Yugoslav Peoples. Cambridge University Press, 1989.

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