Medieval Hungary

I would like to thank Stephen Ladanyi, a Kiwi of Hungarian descent, for his invaluable assistance and recommendations on Hungarian authored History books published in English. Without Stephen's efforts to procure these books on my behalf these pages would not contain the detail they do. The most useful are listed in the Hungarian sources section. An additional thank you to Dave Madigan for introducing me to Stephen. Hungarian History 1300 to 1444AD Significant Events

1301 AD The death of Andrew III last of the male line of the Arpad family plunged Hungary into a power struggle for the throne.

Charles Angevin (1308 to 1342 AD) After eight years of infrequent civil war and feuding Charles Robert of the Anjou family was successfully Crowned King of Hungary. Though recognised by the majority of Hungary's magnates many 'little Caesars' controlled vast areas of the Country. Charles reorganised Hungary's military forces and over a period of years destroyed his rebellious Nobles. Their lands either enriching the Crown or being granted to new blood, loyal only to Charles. Charles restructured the royal finances and the economy of the Country. under his reign Hungary became the major supplier of Gold bullion and coins. The Country provided one third of the entire gold supply of Europe. Newly minted gold coins, called florins, similar to the Italian Florins, were soon preferred currency in much of Europe. By limiting Gold sales through ten Crown controlled Exchanges the Royal Treasury received a huge income every year. Charles broke the virtual monopoly on trade that was held by Austrian merchants by several astute treaties with Bohemia and Poland. Charles held a 'party' in 1335 for the Kings of Bohemia and Poland which cost the Hungarian treasury some 40,000 Florins. A truly vast sum but the return was ten fold when Bohemia agreed to renounce all claims on the Polish throne and to support Hungarian claims should it become vacant. Poland and Bohemia agreed to special trading status between the three that would under cut or by pass the Austrian strangleholds. The rise of Hungary saw many European powers looking for alliances with their Royal family. One of these alliances was the marriage of the King of Naples daughter, Joanna, to Charles'

second son Andrew. Charles successfully turned a divided and weak Hungary into one of the most powerful Eastern European Nations of its day. His death in 1342 left the throne to his eldest son Louis. Louis would become the only Hungary King to earn the adjective 'the Great'

Louis the Great (1342 to 1382AD) Unlike his father Louis was not the physical ideal of a warrior King. Small in stature, with misaligned shoulders and inclined more towards peace and diplomacy he never the less achieved a reputation as an exemplary Knight. From the moment of his accession Louis was embroiled in conflict. The Italian conflicts. Louis' younger brother Andrew though promised the throne of Naples had instead been outmanoeuvred by his own wife Joanna. Andrew was awarded a small duchy while his wife became heir to the throne. Andrew apparently feared for his life at the hands of the Neapolitan Nobles and appealed to Louis for help. Louis responded by sending their formidable Mother, Dowager queen Elizabeth, to Naples. By the time of Elizabeth's arrival Joanna was queen and was able to calm her angry mother-in-law by massive ceremony and flattery. Elizabeth left Naples leaving Joanna secure on the throne and believing the situation resolved. Elizabeth however stopped in Rome on her return and convinced the Pope, by way of a massive bribe, to declare Andrew King of Naples and demand his coronation. By this act Elizabeth secured her own son's assassination at the hands of his wife and her supporters. Louis' response was an invasion of Naples, marching his army the length of Italy and routing Joanna's supporters. Joanna was forced to flee to France. Louis remained just long enough to install garrisons and then returned to Hungary. Once Louis and the bulk of the his forces had departed Joanna returned and roused the local population against the Hungarian garrisons. Joanna was restored to power. A second invasion by Louis followed in 1350 but was quickly abandoned because of the plague. Officially the invasion was stopped because of promises by the Pope to see the murders of Andrew punished. Louis would not interfere in Southern Italy again. Northern Italy saw numerous attacks by Hungarian forces on land held by Venice. Louis on gaining the throne had begun campaigns to regain the Dalmatia coast line which had long been held by Venice. This conflict would only be ended in 1381 when Venice agreed to return her Dalmatian lands to Hungary and pay a annual tribute.

Mary and Sigismund Louis died in 1382 leaving no male heirs. His eldest surviving daughter Mary was acclaimed by the Hungarian nobility and Crowned Queen. At the time of her Coronation she was betrothed to Sigismund of Luxembourg. However due to the interference of the Queen Mother (another Elizabeth), who hoped for a 'better' alliance the marriage was long delayed.

Elizabeth's manipulation of the Queen and her meddling in Hungarian foreign affairs eventually created a back lash against her and the Crown. Several of Hungary's most powerful Barons reacted to this domination of the throne by adding their support to Louis' cousin, Charles, King of Naples who had a claim to the throne. This forced the issue and in an attempt to appease the increasingly hostile Nobility Mary and Sigismund were married. Sigismund was however reduced to the status of consort. The brief period of stability brought about by the Royal marriage was quickly overturned with the arrival of Charles of Naples and a substantial following in Buda. Mary was forced to abdicate in favour of Charles, who was promptly crowned King Charles II. Sigismund fled to his brother King Wenceslas of Bohemia. Charles reign lasted barely three months, his supporters dispersed after his coronation and Mary and her mother were able to launch a counter coup. Charles was imprisoned and died with in a month. The imprisonment of Charles and the arrival of Sigismund at the head of a Bohemian army meant there was little resistance to Mary's return to the throne. The only area to resist Mary's return was Croatia-Dalmatia where the Nobility proclaimed Charles's infant son László King. Mary and Elisabeth, in a move striking by its risk journeyed into the heart of the rebellion in an attempt to face down the Nobles. The ploy backfired spectacularly, Elizabeth was strangled and Mary imprisoned. Sigismund was declared co-ruler in with Mary in 1387 and given effective control of Hungary, though a league of Barons was formed to 'assist' the King. Sigismund managed to rescue his wife from her imprisonment but her health and possibly her sanity had suffered. Sigismund became sole ruler of Hungary, which was confirmed by the Nobles on Mary's death in 1395. 1395 to 96 saw Sigismund led a crusade against the Ottoman Turks. His forces were crushed at the battle of Nicopolis and Sigismund forced to flee for his life. For the first half of his reign Sigismund can be judged to have been an effective monarch. During this time he oversaw a reorganisation of the legal system, commerce and Hungarian defences. Sigismund's organisation of defences for Hungary's borders were a major factor in successfully holding back the Ottoman advance for over a century. 1411 however saw Sigismund successfully acquire the title King of the Germans and uncrowned Holy Roman Emperor. This effectively minimised Hungary on Sigismund's list of priorities. Sigismund's meddling in Bohemia largely caused the armed revolt which became the Hussite wars. This and increasing pressure from the Ottoman Turks prevented Sigismund from effectively ruling Hungary. A lull in the Hussite wars briefly saw Sigismund return to the affairs of Hungary. 1428 Sigismund and some 20,000 to 25,000 men, including a contingent of Wallachians sent by Dan II attempted to take the fortress of Golubac from the Ottomans. The Ottomans surprised the army during the siege and inflicted a heavy defeat. Sigismund concluded a peace treaty with the Ottoman Sultan and adopted a defensive policy for the remainder of his reign. The parliament increasingly dealt with domestic matters and developed a sense of its own importance. The heavy role of the Hungarian parliament in ruling Hungary meant that Sigismund's death in 1437 initially had little effect on the stability of the Country.

The scene was set for a civil war. With Wladislaw's acceptance Elizabeth fled Hungary to Austria with her son and the stolen Holy crown of Hungary. She was supported by some of the greatest magnates of Hungary. Albert relied heavily on the Parliament to effectively rule Hungary in his absence and in his short reign conceded numerous privileges to them. Eastern Hungary and Transylvania for Wladislaw. possibly cholera and died within a month of his return. Several of the larger landholders in Southern Hungary launched quite successful. prior to giving birth to her son attempted to get the Parliament to appoint her Queen Regent for her unborn baby. Elizabeth begrudging allowed representatives to approach Wladislaw. Albert also became King of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperor. Southern Hungary was nominally controlled by Wladislaw's partisans but contained significant estates of Magnates loyal to Elizabeth. Magnates of Transylvania along with the 'Saxon' and Szekeler groups crushed a peasant uprising in the province (1437-38). she gave him control of the rich mining areas of Slovakia. Once again the Hungarian throne was vacant. Elizabeth made a miscalculation with Jiskra. Albert was forced to retreat and leave Smedendria to fall to the Ottomans. His co-operation being secured by a large armed presence. Eventually an army was raised and advanced towards the Ottomans. Ulászló I (1440 to 1444AD) 17 July 1440 Wladislaw was crowned Ulászló I of Hungary by the Archbishop of Strigoniu a staunch supporter of Elizabeth. Under instructions from Hunyadi and other Nobles the representatives continued negotiations. As soon as her son was born though Elizabeth demanded the representatives withdraw their offer and return to Hungary. christened László. This may not have been his or his supporters first choice but the young age of the proposed King may have swayed some of the Magnates to support the choice. It would however be the demands of the middle and lower Nobility for an adult King that would hold sway at the Hungarian Diet. Albert returned to Hungary in 1439 to be greeted with the news that parts of Southern Hungary had been overrun by Ottoman troops and that the free Serbian capital at Smedendria (Smederevo) was under Ottoman siege. Elizabeth reinforced her Hungarian supporters with Hussite mercenaries under a Jan Jiskra. though limited attacks on Ottoman held parts of Serbia. Four months after his death his wife Elizabeth gave birth to a son. stolen by Elizabeth. However within 15 days of the campaign starting the majority of the Hungarian Nobles left the army citing that their feudal obligations of service had been completed. So successfully was the suppression that Ottoman attacks into Transylvania in 1438 met with very little resistance. The local population .Albert (1438 to 1439AD) Respecting the wishes of Sigismund the Hungarian Parliament declared his son in law Albert King. The loss of the Royal Crown. Western Hungary and Slovakia declared for Elizabeth. Albert's widow Elizabeth. It was Hunyadi that proposed the 14 year old Wladislaw III of Poland. meant Ulászló's coronation could be regarded as suspect. Initially the civil war was a series of skirmishes. The Hungarian parliament took the opportunity to extract concessions in return for troops. Albert fell ill during the retreat. One of the most vocal supporters for such a King was Janos Hunyadi.

the Papal representative in Hungary attempted to settle the civil war with the aim of starting a fresh Crusade against the Ottomans. He would remain Slovakia's effective ruler until well after the death of Ulászló I. Though theoretically joint rulers of Transylvania and surrounding districts. Elizabeth was forced to negotiate with her own mercenary captain for his support. Counts of the Szekely and military commanders of Belgrade. This miscalculation and Elizabeth's pawning of estates in Hungary to King Frederick HRE and granting him 'tutor' rights over her son saw many of her supporters declare for Ulászló I.welcomed the Hussites mercenaries with open arms and Jiskra was soon in complete control of the district. Cardinal Cesarini. Hunyadi's successes inspired an enthusiasm against the Ottomans not seen since the disaster at Nicopolis in 1396. at Bataszek the leadership of Hunyadi and the skill of his personal troops secured an overwhelming victory over Ladislas Garai and the only field army loyal to Elizabeth. The appearance of Hunyadi and his troops was sufficient to quell any outward support for Elizabeth. By his methods Hunyadi turned Transylvania into the one of the most stable and loyal provinces of Hungary. This brief campaign was able to drive off Ishak. This was reinforced by the crushing of a pro-Elizabeth revolt by Southern magnates and the capture of her greatest supporter Ulrich Cilli. Ujlaki and Hunyadi were made joint Voivodes of Transylvania. Timisoara and all fortresses on the Danube. . Ujlaki took control of the transdanubian and all districts West of Tizsa. Hunyadi took full control of Transylvania and all districts East of Tizsa. Hunyadi confiscated lands of anyone suspected of harbouring pro-Elizabeth feelings and granted them to his own supporters and retainers. Ulászló's reasons for such a move appear to have been twofold. inflicting large numbers of casualties and providing Christian Europe with their first significant victories. In a move extraordinary in its largesse and trust Ulászló turned two relatively unknown nobles into the most powerful Barons of their time. Bans of Macva and Severin respectively. Both men were already friends at the time of their elevation. Along with these the King granted them all Royal revenues from the Crown monopolies on Salt production. This trust was sufficiently evident from the start. Ulrich was released by Ulászló I after swearing allegiance and promising to assist the King in ending the war. The task of subduing the rebellious Nobles of Transylvania was in reality a far easier process than Ulászló and his advisors had believed. Hunyadi having served under Nicholas' elder brother. within a year of his elevation Hunyadi was able to mount an attack into Serbia. Though unsuccessful in his main aim the Cardinal managed to negotiate a truce for a year between the warring factions. Bey of Smederevo and his forces from around the Serbian town of Belgrade. though he retained equal control over judicial matters and the monopolies on Salt. Ulrich Cilli and his family were the largest landholders in Central Europe. This victory brought Hunyadi and Ujlaki to the attention of Ulászló I. 1442 saw Hunyadi defeat two further Ottoman armies. Ujlaki and Hunyadi divided their responsibilities. Elizabeth's support appeared to be widespread in the area and the Ottomans were making significant raids into Transylvania. In February1441. In this way Transylvania was rapidly subdued. A revolt in Southern Hungary by Nobles in support of Elizabeth was quickly suppressed by the forces of Nicholas Ujlaki and Janos Hunyadi.

More significantly an Albanian by the name of George Castriota. in what can only be described as an act of masterful diplomacy managed to organise a settlement. The terms of the agreement were simple enough. five had been supporters of Ulászló. The year would end disastrously though. a commander in the Ottoman army used the confusion of the Ottoman defeats to rebel. Frederick III would return Ladislaus to the Hungarian people. The campaign caused rebellions in Serbian lands against the Ottomans. Though Hunyadi inflicted three serious defeats on Ottomans their military capabilities were barely dented. Called the long campaign because it lasted over the winter of 1443-44. For more details on the campaigns and battle of Janos Hunyadi see The Battles of Janos Hunyadi 1444 began with optimism for the Hungarians. The final man to .1443 to 1444 Ulászló and Hunyadi led 'the long campaign' into Ottoman held territories. The end of the long campaign was exceptionally difficult for the Hungarian troops. numerous Bans and the Pope's representative Cardinal Cesarini dead on the battlefield at Varna. driving out the supporters of Ulászló I. Frederick III in the name of Ladislaus V occupied the Hungarian border districts with Austria. The campaign did however prove the Ottomans could be beaten and waved the Christian banner in areas long thought irretrievably lost. Jan Jiskra seized Spis and the Cilli family took control of Slovakia. However the capture of the Sultan's Brother-in-law effectively ended the fighting and allowed an organised withdrawal back to Hungary. The campaign also failed to recapture any lands lost to the Ottomans. The events are outlined in the significant Battles section. The measure of the crisis can be judged by the fact that for the first time Hungarian Towns were represented. Possibly playing on fears of Ottoman reprisals and from his position as most powerful landholder in the Kingdom Hunyadi was able to convene a National Diet in April 1445. Militarily this campaign achieved very little. their King. their successes under Hunyadi made them the toast of much of Western Europe. The events leading up to this battle are convoluted and confused and it remains one of the most hotly debated events of Hungarian medieval history. along with the Holy Crown. Hunyadi. Once again Hungary was heading for a full blown civil war. two senior Bishops. supporters of Ulászló I would acknowledge Ladislaus as their lawful King. most of their horses died and all of their wagons were burned. Hungarian History 1444 to 1490AD Significant Events History 1300 to 1444AD Ladislaus V (1444-1457AD) The death of Ulászló I plunged Hungary into crisis. Called Skanderbeg. Hunyadi was the first of these Captains and of the remaining six. Until the return of the King seven 'Captains' would be elected to maintain law and Order. a corruption of his Ottoman Name/title Iskender Bey he managed to liberate much of Albania.

Instead it was the Ottoman army that appeared and after 3 days of fighting the Hungarian army was defeated. At the plain of Kosovo Polje Hunyadi rested his army. Hunyadi was further inconvenienced in his retreat to Hungary when the Prince of Serbia George Brankovic seized his opportunity to revenge himself on the man he believed had betrayed the peace of 1444. Jiskra's long support for Ladislaus V made peace inevitable. Even so the Diet was unable to reassert authority over lands controlled by Jiskra or the Cilli. Brankovic was declared traitor and his lands subject to forfeiture. a supporter of Ladislaus V from the beginning was made Palatine. A new Diet was called at Pest in June 1446. Outside of the Diet and by popular acclaim most of the Nobility pronounced Janos Hunyadi Royal Regent. This 'little war' combined with Hunyadi's on/off attempts to deal with Jiskra meant . Once free though Hunyadi set about gaining his own measure of revenge. Hunyadi had no opportunity to revenge his defeat as the following year saw Frederick III unexpectedly returned Ladislaus V to Hungary. Between 1444 and 1447 Hunyadi was unable to focus on the Ottoman threat but by 1448 he was in a position to revenge the defeat at Varna. The Diet had little choice but to ratify the popular decision. The old party of Ulászló under the leadership of Hunyadi was still by far the strongest in Hungary and that the Czech mercenary Jiskra had managed to build such a strong power base in Slovakia and surrounding districts that he had to be acknowledged as one of the seven most powerful men in Hungary. From 1448 to 1451 Hunyadi or his supporters waged war on Brankovic.make up the seven was Jiskra. A second Diet in 1447 further codified the how the Kingdom was to be run. The previous year Hunyadi had led a rapid campaign into Wallachia and replaced Vlad Dracul with a more amenable Voivode. The Counts of Cilli and Jiskra remained effective rulers of the territories they held but peace was maintained and stability restored. The Diet also decreed that if Ladislaus V should die without an heir it would fall to the Barons to elect a New King. The likely object of the campaign appears to have been to join with Skanderbeg and his rebel army in Albania. 1451 saw a serious defeat for Hunyadi when Jiskra unexpectedly took to the field and his army surprised Hunyadi while he was besieging the fortified monastery at Lucenec. Hunyadi was temporarily held captive until he agreed to return Brankovic's estates in Hungary to him. With Wallachia secured Hunyadi gathered an army and marched into Ottoman occupied Serbia. Over the next five years Hunyadi led a total of four campaigns against Jiskra. it may be that Skanderbeg was expected to march and join him. This Council was remarkably balanced in its composition. Ladislaus Garai. Hungarian casualties were heavy and included most of the senior commanders. The refusal of Jiskra to relinquish control to the Diet and Hunyadi immediately led to a resumption of hostilities. The seven ruled Hungary for over a year but by then it was clear that Frederick III was not going to release Ladislaus nor return the lands he had taken. Despite the balance of power being firmly in favour of Hunyadi and his peers this temporary solution worked very well. The campaigns instead of destroying Jiskra's strongholds was reduced to devastating the surrounding lands. Never the less the Diet installed limits on just what Hunyadi could do as regent (He was given the title Gubernator (Governor)) The Diet elected a Regency Council to 'assist' the Governor in his duties. not even a Hungarian! The choice in Captains reflects several points. Though given Hunyadi's obvious popularity and sheer personal wealth and power the decision was never really in doubt. As a result the campaigns never utilised the full force of the Hungarian army nor stayed in the field long enough to force Jiskra's army to battle. However he was never able to give the situation his full attention.

1490AD) . Despite losing his second major battle against the Ottomans. failing to deal with Jiskra and having to relinquish some of his rights to Royal revenues Hunyadi retained his pre-eminent position in Hungary. In a move stunning in its stupidity Ladislaus released the King and then attended the Royal Court in Buda with his brother Matthius. He began a concerted campaign to expand his European holdings. led by Hunyadi's widow Elizabeth and her brother Michael Szilagyi soon broke out. Despite pitched battles and innumerable skirmishes neither side was able to gain the advantage. taken the King into his 'care' and declared himself Captain General. representing only their own interests. The King rightly fearing the reaction of the Hunyadi party fled to Bohemia with Matthius as his hostage. The Sultan began the siege on the 4th of July 1456 and by the 22nd of July was in full retreat with the remains of his army and a healthy respect for the fighting qualities of the Hungarians. Mehmed's experiences under the walls of Belgrade appear to be the primary reason why the Ottomans would not launch any attacks on such a scale for the next 65 years. 1451 saw Mehmed II gain the throne of the Ottoman Empire. His defeat at the hands of Jiskra in 1451 saw Hunyadi accept mediation from the Barons in his dispute with Brankovic. The King had Ladislaus and Matthius arrested. The Royal army under Jiskra and Hunyadi's former compatriot Ujlaki put up an effective resistance. The Nationalists transformed into the Hunyadi faction. no longer was there a 'Loyalist' and 'Nationalist' party. Ladislaus was executed and the 14 year old Matthius imprisoned. her efforts against the Ottomans would for many years be almost entirely confined to the defensive. Peace was achieved with Hunyadi returning all lands seized since 1448 and paying a massive 155. The struggle for control between the two groups increased steadily and had the Ottoman Sultan not signalled his intend to renew the war. King Matthius (1458. except ambition. In part this was due to Hunyadi being the natural leader of the opposition to the Cilli who had regained much influence by their blood relationship with the King. This presumably was to free up troops for a new campaign against Jiskra. Cilli was at the time Captain General of the Realm. The return of the King Ladislaus altered the political makeup.000 florins in return for retaining all lands ceded over in 1444.little was achieved on either front. Hungary may well have found itself in the grip of a new civil war. as is often the case. Ladislaus had not inherited his Father's many talents. charged and tried for high treason. This shift to personal politics saw significant defections to the Loyalists. The battle of Kosovo Polje was a watershed for Hungary. A revolt against the King. The situation changed on the 23 November 1457 when Ladislaus V died in Prague. transferring his Capital there. once again leaving Hungary with no legitimate heir to the throne. These included Ujlaki and the Bishop of Oradea. 1453 he took Constantinople. represented by Cilli and Hunyadi respectively. The Ottomans still threatened Hungary and Hunyadi remained the best general of the time. Hunyadi's positions and power were inherited by his eldest son Ladislaus. The breaking of the siege however cost Hungary dear as Janos Hunyadi died shortly after from the plague. 1454 he began fresh attacks on Serbia and by 1456 was in a position to attack Belgrade. Also Brankovic's granddaughter was betrothed to Hunyadi's younger son Matthius. By the end of 1456 Ladislaus had had Ulrich Cilli publicly murdered. Unfortunately.

Like his earlier successful resistance to Janos Hunyadi Jiskra was able to rely on Matthius being unable to give him his undivided attention. Jan Jiskra and the powerbase of the Counts of Cilli. Most of Jiskra's troops were incorporated into the Hungarian army though some preferred banditry and it wouldn't be until 1467 that the last of these marauding armies was destroyed. He faced the same three main problems his father had been unable to deal with. Matthius though dealt honourably with Jiskra and he was made a Hungarian Baron and one of his senior army commanders. Ladislaus V appointed Vitovec Ban of Slovenia and Frederick III supported him when he took control of the Cilli estates within the County. Vitovec was originally in the employ of Count Ulrich of Cilli. Rather than confront him Matthius gave Vitovec the title Count of Zagorje. Frederick III was proclaimed King of Hungary in 1459 by some of the Barons of Northern Hungary. Never the less it wouldn't be until 1462 that Jiskra was forced to negotiate. With Ulrich's death in 1456 the Cilli estates were vacant. now in the hands of a foreign Mercenary. . Jiskra was effectively isolated and knew it. Matthius after some negotiation with his captor George Podebrad of Bohemia was released and was crowned King on the 14th of February 1458. It was apparent from the start that this 15 year old boy had inherited in full measure the talents of his illustrious father. Frederick's support in Northern Hungary was still strong. Jiskra's willingness to negotiate was only partially due to Matthius' successful campaigns mostly though it was because Frederick had made his own peace with Matthius. It was inevitable that Jan Jiskra would not submit to the new King and almost as soon as Matthius was elected hostilities were resumed. re-affirmed him as Ban of Slovenia and allowed him to keep the Cilli lands he had seized there. Jiskra controlled Slovakia and a Jan Vitovec controlled most of the Cilli lands. so long as he was without a male heir. The revolt was quickly crushed by Matthius but it did little to persuade Frederick to drop his claims to the throne. Szilagyi gave the Barons assurances that Matthius would not exact revenge for the death of his brother.There was only one realistic candidate for King. That of the Emperor Frederick III. pay a massive ransom for the Holy Crown of St Stephen and agree to Austria retaining much of the lands taken from Hungary since 1440. The peace saw Matthius declare Frederick his successor. When this failed Jiskra switched his support to Frederick III. However unlike his father Matthius adopted a systematic approach to the problem. No one else mustered enough support to prevent a civil war. In return Matthius took control of all remaining Cilli estates in Hungary and gained himself another Loyal supporter. then arrested his Uncle Szilagyi and taken personal control of his Kingdom. This was sufficient for the Barons to elect Matthius as King and Szilagyi as governor. At the Diet of Pest in 1458 Michael Szilagyi and some 15. Matthius Hunyadi. Another mercenary to do well under Matthius was that of Jan Vitovec. This period of consolidation was complete by Matthius coronation in 1464 with the crown of St Stephen.000 supporters acclaimed Matthius King. Within three months of his coronation Matthius had sidelined. Each campaign was aimed at reducing Jiskra's strongholds and retaining them. Matthius immediately began consolidating his kingdom. Jiskra at first offered to support Casimir of Poland if he wished to push his claim to Hungary. led by Garai.

The death of Mehmed II in 1481 returned Hungarian-Ottoman relations to one of peaceful tolerance. Matthius allied himself with Stephen of Moldavia and in 1474 at the battle of Vaslui a contingent of Hungarian troops assisted in the destruction of an Ottoman army. constructing a series of temporary fortresses. 1466 Hercegovina fell to the Ottomans. 1476 Matthius captured the fortress of Sabac and campaigned near Smederavo. Despite his very public anti-Ottoman rhetoric Matthius was in reality following a policy of peace with his Southern neighbour. . This defeat though appears to have altered Ottoman objective. killing their king in the process. In 1474 the Bey of Smederevo launched a massive raid into Hungary. Matthius' response to this apparently dangerous development was surprisingly muted. This war was one of Venice's hardest fought and costly in her history and it is clear from the sources at the time that she regarded Hungary as her most important ally. An Ottoman attack on Transylvania in 1479 was destroyed by the Voivode Stephen Batori. Ottoman raids beginning in 1469 actually crossed through the Hungary provinces of Croatia and Slavonia to raid Venetian and Austrian lands. Matthius welcomed them and granted them estates. By 1490 over ten of these large scale raids are recorded and none of them appear to have devastated any of the Hungarian lands they past through. By 1459 the royal residence of Smederevo had fallen to the Ottoman armies and with it Serbia. official peace treaties being signed in 1483 and 88. The new Sultan Bayezid II being substantially less warlike than his predecessor. 1462 saw Vlad Tepes driven from Wallachia and an Ottoman puppet placed on the throne. burning the town of Oradea and taking 16. In ten years the Ottomans had successfully removed all the Countries that had previously buffered Hungary from their attacks. no longer was Hungary the primary target. 1463 to 1479 Venice was at war with the Ottoman Empire. These refugees provided Matthius with another excellent source of troops. Further to this. Yet between 1463 and 1674 Hungary carried out no military campaigns against the Ottomans and her southern borders were almost totally undisturbed by their raids. The majority of Matthius' reign was indeed spent at war however despite popular perceptions of this 'Defender of Christendom' almost all of Matthius' conflicts were with his Christian neighbours.000 prisoners. It would be the Ottomans that would force a change in policy. This can be shown by numerous ways. The Ottomans The Ottomans had continued to gain ground even after Janos Hunyadi's heroic defence of Belgrade in 1456. 1463 the Ottomans successfully conquered Bosnia. Swift action from Sultan Mehmed II saw these fortresses destroyed and the status quo in the area restored. these would remain part of the Hungarian defensive network until 1527. Certainly Frederick III accused Matthius of assisting the Ottoman raiders. Many Serbian Nobles and their followers fled to Hungary. he made war abroad'. Matthius limited himself to a single offensive campaign into Bosnia in 1463 which captured several strategic fortresses. Instead Ottoman armies slowly whittled away at the States surrounding Hungary.The wars of Matthius Bonfinius said of Matthius 'in order to rule in peace at home.

Despite their or maybe because of their massive numerical superiority Casimir and Wladislas were unable to siege Wroclaw for long and were forced to sue for peace. Frederick III convinced of Matthius' duplicity and involvement in Ottoman raids on his territory and support for rebels in Styria constructed an anti-Matthius league with George of Bohemia and Poland. In 1474 Casimir and Wladislas with a combined Bohemian and Polish army massed ready to invade the territories occupied by Hungary. By 1488 Matthius had taken the major . Matthius responded by devastating the lands of Silesia and prepared himself for a siege behind the walls of Wroclaw.000 florins upon Matthius' death. Frederick then further twisted the knife in 1480 by getting Beckensloer elected Archbishop of Salzburg.Despite Matthius' lack of aggression against the Ottomans he was not foolish enough to ignore their potential threat. Over 5 years Matthius' army reduced Frederick's strongholds one by one. The league achieved little until George's death in 1471 when in accordance with his will Bohemia's crown passed to Wladislas the 15 year old son of King Casimir IV of Poland. Poland and Hungary would remain peaceful neighbours. These 'Gusars' or 'Husars' primary role was raids and counter raids. Peace negotiations followed but almost as soon as they had been signed they were broken. He maintained and improved upon the defensive border fortresses started by Sigismund. Frederick III and Austria were conspicuously absent from the negotiations of 1474. Frederick and Matthius' relationship had deteriorated into a personal feud when Frederick had given sanctuary to one of Matthius' advisors. Matthius made in clear from the start that his feud was with Frederick as the Archduke of Austria and not Frederick. Matthius' Western Wars The first major foreign campaign for Matthius was against his old captor King George of Bohemia. George's son Victorin attacked Austria in 1468 and Frederick III asked Matthius for help. Matthius' rapid victories managed to create him new enemies. Initial attempts to exploit an internal revolt in Hungary failed because Matthius was able to subdue the rebels before troops from Bohemia and Poland could reach them. In three years Matthius had successfully occupied much of Bohemia and captured Victorin. Their advantage was that they lay outside of traditional Hungarian laws on troop raising and much like the Szekely provided a reliable and determinable force. Even with imperial troops Frederick was unable to fight Matthius' army in open battle and the war became one of sieges. He also created a new levy of soldiers based on refugee Serbs settled in Hungary's border districts. For the remainder of Matthius' reign Bohemia. Despite this in 1482 Matthius was at war with the Holy Roman Empire. In 1477 a permanent peace was negotiated which re-affirmed Matthius' rights to the captured provinces of Silesia and Moravia and stipulated that Bohemia could regain these lands at the cost of 400. the Holy Roman Emperor. Frederick agreed terms and recognised the treaty between Bohemia and Hungary. the Archbishop of Esztergom. Matthius supplied their army with much needed food and negotiated a favourable truce between Hungary. Matthius' response was swift and by December of 1477 Vienna was under siege. John Beckensloer. Poland and Bohemia to last until 1477. Frederick formally recognising Wladislas as King of Bohemia and as Elector of the Holy Roman Emperor in 1477.

Frederick would not attempt to regain his territories until after Matthius' death in 1490. Korneuburg and Vienna. Bruck.towns and fortresses of Koszeg. The fall of the Emperor's palace at Wiener Neustadt effectively broke Frederick's will to continue and a peace was negotiated. Matthius retained all of lower Austria and Styria. Hungarian Armies 1300 to 1492 Contents Organisation Generalis Exercitus The Banderium (Bandiera) Mercenaries .

The Militia Portalis Transylvania Army Composition Knights Hungarian Knights Mercenary Knights (Armigeri) Light Cavalry Hungarian Light Cavalry Hussars (Serbian Gusars) Szekely Cumans Wallachian and Moldavian Light horse Hungarian Infantry Archers The Saxons Mercenary Infantry of the Hunyadi era Clipeati Armati Handgunners or Arquebusiers Light Infantry WarWagons (Tabors) .

Originally the core of the Hungarian army this mass levy had provided their Kings with a large and enthusiastic army. This was mostly due to changes with in the Hungarian society where the lesser nobility had increasingly been absorbed into the wealthier peasant class though they still insisted on the right of Generalis Exercitus as a means to distinguish themselves. For example the Szekely and Cumans appear under the light horse heading yet the information on them includes a brief history and other notable items not really relevant to Light horse.I have taken the approach when describing the Hungarian army of placing information where I feel it makes most sense rather than sticking rigidly to my headers. Organisation Generalis Exercitus The Generalis Exercitus was a mass levy of all lesser Noblemen of Hungary. Transylvania is covered separately within the text. This right though did not equip such men for war and throughout the 14th Century references abound to the complete lack of suitable equipment of those called by the Generalis . By the 14th Century though the levy was an anachronism unable to provide any realistic military force. It is also worth noting that where Hungarian is used it does not cover Transylvania.

partially due to the King and partially due to the men of the Generalis Exercitus themselves. These retinues were originally made up of kinsmen called Familiaris or Servientes. It also fell to the Lord in question to equip and supply his familiaries. much like the General Levy of Poland the Generalis Exercitus when called up was singularly ineffective. the familiaris only committed himself and not his own family. Additionally the organisation of the Generalis Exercitus was limited to the 'local' or county level. The men most experienced in war and most likely to be able to organise the levy into an effective military force were the Barons of the Kingdom. The Generalis Exercitus dutifully massed and followed the King fifteen days later it disbanded itself and went home. Vexillum came into use as it was customary for the familiaries to be fielded under their Noble's personal standard and leadership. they became Vexillum (flag/banner) and they also became a significant threat to the King's power. This situation was mostly political in origin. His son Louis followed a similar policy and we find that for his foreign wars mercenaries were the preferred troops though significant numbers of Hungarian infantry appear to have taken part in his Italian campaigns. The last mobilisation of it was in 1439 by king Albert. forcing the King to abandon his campaign and retreat. No longer were they comprised solely of trusted kinsmen but included anyone willing to serve. . The Kings of Hungary though were not prepared to trust the Barons as local leaders of the levy as it represented a significant threat to their own power. The levy did however provide a counter point to Baronial power in Hungary. There were no arsenals. The Golden Bull of Andrew II of 1222 further limited the use of the Levy. In this way the majority of the retinues tended to be made up of Hungary's lesser Nobility. Also the levy were unlikely to wish Baronial interference as in undermined their own independence. Unlike western practises though those that served as familiaris were not automatically vassals of their chosen Noble. In the 15th century. Yet even he seems to have limited its use to 'minor' wars.Exercitus. By this Bull the Levy were only obliged to serve within the boundaries of Hungary and only for a period of fifteen days. Charles Angevin used the levy to considerable affect against the rebellious Nobles on his accession to the throne. leaders or basic organisational units. lands or retainers. This gave rise to the term familiaries to describe a Noble's armed following. Service was not equated to vassalage. The Banderium (Bandiera) The decline in the Generalis Exercitus increasingly lead to the responsibility for providing sufficient military forces shifting to the senior Nobles of the realm. The requirement for vexillum to provide the King with troops also brought about the risk of civil war. The Nobles of Hungary used their Vexillum in the power struggle for the throne and created a myriad of 'little Caesars' in Hungary. The name of these retinues also changed. The break down in Royal authority in the 13th and 14th Century saw an increase in the size of these familiaries. As with almost all feudal societies the Nobility of Hungary had their own armed retinues. A situation clearly shown at the end of the 13th century with the death of the last Arpad King.

The other major mercenary presence in the Hungarian army was that of her infantry. The Hungarian mercenaries of one of these armies formed their own company when it was disbanded. For Hunyadi we find the term Familaries being used to describe his Personal Banderium. comprised of some 300 to 500 Polish guards.The accession of Charles Angevin brought about some changes to the Vexillum system. It should be noted that about this time the term Banderium came to be used instead of Vexillum. This mercenary company. To ensure their service to the Crown it became customary for the King to compensate Barons for their Banderium expenses. During his . He limited it to those of Baronial rank only. Mercenaries were increasingly hired to serve in the Banderium of the Barons as well. Never the less the Banderium were private armies and as such answered to their Lords. However like the later practises of Poland Hungary employed domestic mercenaries in preference to all others. There is however little proof of new practises other than the limiting of just who could raise a Banderium. recruited from kinsmen and his private estates and then Banderium being applied to the numerous mercenary companies that he employed. The Banderium system remained the primary source of troops for the Crown until the time of Matthius. this also included senior figures of the Church as well. much like the Polish 'banner'. Mostly for his Italian wars but some for garrison duties within Hungary as well. the Magna Societas Ungarorum played a significant part in the Italian wars of the later 14th Century. This shift in name has often been used to justify a radical overhaul of the Hungarian military by Charles. Normally these mercenaries took to the field as part of the Royal Banderium under the direct command of the King. In this way it was possible for Janos Hunyadi's Banderium to be made up of several Banderium. In 1380 for instance the castle of Bran in Transylvania was manned by a contingent of English archers (source: Thuroczy p182). Once Charles had successfully regained control of Hungary he altered just who was allowed a Vexillum. Janos Hunyadi particularly employed large numbers of Bohemian and Germans. This is probably due to Italian influence (banderia being the Italian). Though under Louis parts of the Royal army fought in Italy under the command of Barons. It would be under Matthius that mercenaries became the backbone of the Hungarian army forming its own 'black army'. The name 'black army' was actually first applied to Matthius' army in the early 16th century so is anachronistic but does make a convenient tag. Mercenaries Louis the Great frequently employed mercenaries. King Ulászló is described as having a Royal Banderium at Varna. yet another Royal Banderium is mentioned fighting alongside Hunyadi and being comprised of Hungarian guards. These mercenaries were hired and led by Knights of the King and paid directly from the Royal Treasury. here almost overwhelmingly ex-Hussite and Germans prevailed. Secondly it was used to describe a unit of men fighting under a standard. It should be noted that Banderium was used in several contexts Firstly it described the private army of a Baron or the King and in this respect could number in the thousands.

reign Matthius created possibly the most formidable 'regular' army of the time. Vol. Failure of the Generalis Exercitus during the Hussite wars saw further attempts at reform between 1432-35.000 infantry. the Italian chronicler records that Matthius' standing army in 1463 was some 2000 cavalry and 5. This specific levy was not to be limited by service within Hungary nor the 15 day period of service. What is often assumed is that this soldier was a peasant from such holdings this though is never actually specified by the documents of this time or later. These appear to have been more successful and there is documentary evidence of the use of the Militia Portalis from then on. Transylvania appears to have retained an effective militia system comprised of a the 'great' and 'small' armies. Eastern European quarterly. It outlined that for every twenty serf-lots (portae) a Noble was expected to raise and led 1 archer (probably mounted). It appears that this initial attempt failed under opposition from the Nobility. From Hunyadi to Rakoczi Transylvania Transylvania appears to have organised differently from the rest of Hungary and was instead militarily organised along the lines of Wallachia and Moldavia.000 cavalry. For more detailed information and examination of the evidence on the Hungarian organisation see the following articles: Military reform in early fifteenth Century Hungary by Joseph Held.000 infantry and 5. The small army was a levy comprised of the wealthier Nobles of Transylvania and as such was probably fairly effective. Janos Hunyadi is known to have called on every able bodied man in 1442 to defend against an . Sources repeatedly state that the core of Matthius' army remained Germans and Bohemians but that it increasingly included Serbian light cavalry as well. The core of Matthius army was originally mercenaries brought over by Jan Jiskra in 1462 after he made his peace with the King. The same chronicler records that the army Matthius used in his campaign of 1487 in Austria was some 20. It first appeared in documents of 1397 during the reign of Sigismund. Bonfini. The great army was a general levy called in times of emergency.000 wagons. 8. XL no 2 Militia Portalis in Hungary before 1526 by Andras Borosy. The Militia Portalis The Militia Portalis was born out of attempts to reorganise and reform the general levy.

Hungarian Army Composition Contents Knights Hungarian Knights Mercenary Knights (Armigeri) mounted crossbowmen Light Cavalry Hungarian Light Cavalry Hussars (Serbian Gusars) Szekely Cumans Wallachian and Moldavian Light horse Hungarian Infantry Archers The Saxons Mercenary Infantry of the Hunyadi era Clipeati Armati Handgunners or Arquebusiers .Ottoman invasion. There is no recorded instance of a similar occurrence with in Hungary itself. Alongside these levies there was also soldiers available from the Szekely and the Saxons and these are covered below.

foreigners and Hungarians. Though it has to be said any army consistently faced with the light horse tactics used by the Ottomans tended to adopt a very cautious approach to their battles.Light Infantry WarWagons (Tabors) Knights The core of any Hungarian army was the heavily armoured Knight of the Banderium. These Knights were equipped like those of their Western counterparts. for example their French counterparts. the Polish are a prime example. Hungarian Knights Hungarian is used here to indicate native Nobles recruited into the Banderium of the Barons. The heavy cavalry employed by the Hungarians fall into two main categories. Whether employed in distinct units or as individual lances they differed from the Hungarian Nobility in that they were highly disciplined professionals. Mercenary Knights (Armigeri) Often referred to in the sources by the Italian term Armigeri these men were equipped as Knights and organised in the basic lance or Gleve system prevalent in Germany and Italy at the time. There were also two distinct types of mercenary units. The effect of their charge being regarded as the climax of battle. Hungarians and Mercenaries. There are no obvious examples of Hungarian Knights displaying the impetuous behaviour of. Emperor Sigismund made a specific order for the Nicopolis campaign of 1396 that Knights should be accompanied by two mounted archers. They were equipped at the expense of their commander and only offered themselves for service. The temperament of these Nobles also appears to have been more cautious that that of their Western Cousins. This in some way may be explained by the presence of mercenaries within a Banderium which might have acted as a stabilising influence. The Hungarian mercenary units first appear to have been recruited in Louis' reign. Each lance being a men at arms or Knight and a support group of between three to five less well equipped retainers. It is likely that such Knights did not come with the usual combat effective support group seen in other European Countries. The implication being that this was not a normal state of affairs. Knights of the Kings household were given commissions (dispositio) to recruit between fifty and eighty .

Wallachians and Moldavians Hungarian Light Cavalry These are the archers recruited by the Militia Portalis and appearing in the retinue of Hungarian Knights. Probably for no other reason that they were the most readily available at the time. Light Cavalry The Hungarian army contained various types of Light horse. Szekely. be it as a mercenary or part of a Banderium. Those recruited as part of a Knightly retinue. These men at arms were expected to supply a support group of two to three mounted archers (pharetriarii). Hungarian Light Horse. There is no evidence of how these mercenaries were recruited but it is likely that this varied from unit to unit. . Their role may well have varied. Much like the western practise with retainers. Cumans. They appear to have been recruited directly from the wealthier peasants of at arms. as long as they were paid they served. The core of Matthius' mercenaries originated from the army of Jan Jiskra as did many of his senior commanders so they were probably on a rolling contract. It is generally assumed and likely that this is a mistaken reference to light bow armed cavalry (see Light cavalry). However Bonfinius mentions mounted arbalesters at a battle in 1441 (Sava). Others may well have been on fixed contracts. may well have been expected to form rear ranks to their Knights. These are deployed with the Knights on the wings of the army and are differentiated from the light horse who form a skirmish screen. Mounted crossbowmen Froissart mentions mounted crossbowmen at Nicopolis in 1396. Foreign mercenary units tended to be recruited from Germany or Bohemia. Hussars (Gusars). Based on Hunyadi's known preference for using German mercenaries and the well documented use of mounted crossbowmen in the Holy Roman Empire it is probable that these were such mercenaries. Janos Hunyadi certainly seemed to have little difficulty in recruiting and replacing these mercenaries when ever required. These archers were likely to be comparable to those raised by the Militia Portalis and are discussed under Hungarian Light cavalry. This is based mostly on supposition. As stated previously Sigismund requested such archers to accompany his Knights at Nicopolis.

To combat these Gusars and their Turkish counterparts it seems that the border districts recruited their own horsemen. though he describes them as mounted crossbowmen. lance and armour. This feature appears time and again in Hungarian battles of the 15th Century. All this suggests that the native Hungarian light horsemen may not have been sufficiently skilled or equipped for a dedicated battlefield role in the 15th century and many may in fact have become the infantry element of the Hungarian armies. prior to the reign of Matthius cannot be proved for certain. Certainly Serbian troops in Hungarian employ are mentioned at the siege of Belgrade in 1456 where they were dismounted to provide crews for the boats used to break the Ottoman naval blockade. Reliance is placed on foreign or specialist light horsemen to act as skirmishers or counter skirmishers. What is notably absent from the primary sources of the 15th Century is the use of native horse archers as massed skirmishers. Operating in and around Hungary's southern defences they attempted to intercept Turkish incursions. Rac derives from the name of the Serbian fortress/city Ras and is often used to describe Serbia as a whole. These were often Wallachians (Varna and Kosovo Polje). Often as not these Hussars where recruited from the Gusar elements themselves. These first Hussars were irregulars with no position in Hungary's military. Hussars (Gusars) Formally created in the reign of Matthius these light horsemen were the primary defence against Turkish raiders. Though the Serbs would periodically resist Ottoman control the Turks now had access to Hungary's borders. These raiders were called Gusars (mounted robbers). The instability in Serbia also led to what Hungarian sources describe as 'robbers and evil doers ' raiding across the borders. in their own units. It should be pointed out that parts of Southern Hungary had until 1426 been part of Serbia and where ceded to the Hungarian Crown by Stephen Lazarevich. The origin of the Hussars though stems from the 1427 when Serbia submitted to Ottoman authority. In Matthius' reign the Hussars were equally referred to in the sources as Rac. So it is quite possible that the Hungarians had either their own 'home-grown' Rac horsemen or at the very least were hiring mercenaries of their own by the time of Janos Hunyadi.Froissart implies the presence of these archers. One later edict for the Militia Portalis requests light horsemen armed with bows. Their . The primary reason for this being that the majority of Hussars were supplied by Serbian exiles or mercenaries. The Militia Portalis may well have been an effort to create an effective light horse contingent like those of the Wallachian or Serbians. Traditionally the Hussar equipment was a large shield and light lance though whether this evident from the start is unknown and probably unlikely given the disparate sources of recruitment. Whether these Hussars gained their place in the Hungarian army as a distinct type of soldier. However by the time of Janos Hunyadi's Long campaign there appear units of Rac horsemen who played a significant part in the campaign. The majority of the Rac horsemen where undoubtedly part of the contingent supplied by Serbia itself for the campaign. Serbians (the long campaign and many of Matthius' battles) or Szekelers and Tatars from within Hungary itself. However at the battle it was the Transylvanian and Wallachian contingents that were expected to clear away the Ottoman Akinji skirmishers.

This led to an influx of refugees and Noble exiles to Hungary. each subdivided into four branches. While the main Hungarian army was besieged at Wroclaw Hussar groups under Stephen Szapolyia and Paul Kinizsi captured and burned the Polish towns of Poznan and Crarow. It is worth noting that the impact of the Hussars during Janos and Matthius' lifetime was sufficient to create a permanent place for them in the Hungarian army. The numbers of Hussars available to the Hungarians rose dramatically from 1459 when the Serbian State was finally absorbed by the Ottoman Empire. This appears to have been further supplemented by a militia only obligated to serve for 30 days. From 1462 the two offices were combined on a permanent basis. By the 13th century the Szekely formed the largest Hungarian speaking group in Transylvania. Through out this period the Szekely remained a semi-nomadic people who made their living from horse and cattle breeding. It is no coincidence that the formal creation of Hussar units dates from this time. Their lands covered some 12. The basic unit was a Turbae comprising some 25 Hussars. Instead the administration of law fell to the Count of the Szekely. The only obligation the Szekely had to the Hungarian Crown was supplying troops for military service. even the Voivode of Transylvania had no authority within their borders. Six of these districts. The decline in Royal authority and more importantly finances after Matthius' death caused a rapid decline in the number of Hussars available to the Hungarians. These Hussars also completely destroyed the Polish supply lines which contributed greatly to Matthius' success. Each branch was obligated to provide the Hungarian Crown with 100 horsemen for military service. The Szekely lands were outside of traditional Hungarian law. As such they were regarded as some of the finest light horsemen available to the Kings of Hungary. The Count was appointed by the King and was usually a Hungarian Lord. Szekely The precise origins of the Szekely are unknown and subject to a long running scholarly debate. the seventh formed a small enclave near the town of Tuda. What is known is that they were a separate ethnic group from the Magyars and they believed they were direct descendants from the Huns. often but not always the Voivode of Transylvania as well. those that serve with three other mounted . These divisions were purely political and military in origin and spread over the entire Szekely lands. This in some way goes to explain why the Szekely were able to retain their unique life style while other ethic groups like the Cumans (see below) became absorbed into Hungarian society.000 kilometres and were divided into seven districts called szek (seats). Recruitment was at the demand of the Crown and they were paid direct from the Royal treasury. The name Szekely does not apparently originate from this. comprising the vast majority of the Szekely were in one block in the South of Transylvania. In 1473 the Szekely militia is recorded as being made up of three distinct groups. The Szekely were divided into six tribes.original duties are mentioned as being fortress garrison troops. This gives an obligated total of 2400 horsemen. By 1474 there were sufficient Hussar companies to allow large scale independent action.

When compared to a figure of 4. The Cumans appear to have fought under their own chieftains and formed their own tribal units. It is possible that some Szekely were more Hungarian in their weapons and battlefield role. It is probably no coincidence that this mirrors the last two 'ranks' of the Szekely Social structure. Baduario describes the Szekely as armed with lance. Never the less Cuman light horse continued to play a part in the armies of Hungary. the Primipili and the community. The figure of 1430 also matches quite closely to the numbers the Saxon and Szekely communities had to provide to the Crown so probably should not be taken as indicative of the number of soldiers potentially available. This is however not necessarily an unbelievable figure. So the Crown could rely on 2400 Szekely cavalry when they were needed and a militia for local defence as well. The main power of the Cumans was broken in 1280 (82 in some sources) when their revolt was crushed at the battle of Lake Hod and large numbers migrated out of Hungary.000 Szekely horsemen. The community were the bulk of the Szekely Nation and would have provided the mounted common soldiers and an infantry King Ladislas IV was known as 'the Cuman' not only because his mother was a Cuman princess but for his continual support for the Cuman people against that of the Catholic Church. though Chieftains would probably be more accurate. Shield and bow. Matthius relied on mercenaries for his army and it is more than likely given the preference for competent horsemen that the Szekely would have been prime candidates for recruitment. Given their background of semi-nomadic herders its seems more than likely that this was indeed their primary military function. The Cumans supported Charles . At Varna Szekely are described as forming up with the heavy cavalry. individual horsemen and finally infantry. These nomadic horsemen would provide the Hungarian Kings with another vital source of light cavalry. Cumans 1239 is the traditional date given for the arrival of the Cumans in Hungary. Like 'native' light horsemen the Cumans were horse archers. In the 13th and the early 14th Centuries Cuman units appear frequently in the sources. which is the combined totals of available Saxon and Szekely troops this appears to be a massive rise. At Vasaq in 1442 a group of Szekely are described as elite and assigned to a bodyguard role. The Primores were equivalent to Nobles.000 from 1430. There are however several anomalies with Szekely troops. Though there is almost certainly no connection the officer and three mounted men mirrors the early Ottoman arrangement for Spahis recruitment. In both cases above they were Janos Hunyadi's troops so may have represented a bodyguard element associated with him as Count of the Szekely. They provided the military leadership. There were three orders of rank. The Venetian Baduario reports that Matthius' army in the 1470's had some 16. The Szekely appear to have fulfilled a similar role to the Serbian Hussars providing Light Horse. the Primores. skilled in skirmishing. The Primipili have been described as a sub-officer class probably responsible for their own local militia. Janos Hunyadi certainly used a large number of Szekely and 'Saxon' troops at the battle of Vasaq in 1442.

As such it is very difficult to obtain a clear idea of just what infantry was available to the Hungarians. See the battle of Kosovo Polje for more details Hungarian Infantry Infantry were very much a secondary concern in Hungarian warfare. Janos Hunyadi's troops are invariably described as containing large numbers of Transylvanians a description unlikely to be used to describe troops of Hungarian descent. those from the Transylvanian region. The anonymous Chronica de Gestis Hungarorum. 1312. Even though Cumans appear as a distinct ethnic group in later sources they are no longer mentioned in military terms. Cumans. The Cuman troops finally disappear from the sources towards the end of the reign of Louis the Great. June 15. The loss of the Cuman archers may in part explain why Sigismund attempted in 1397 to enforce the creation of the Militia Portalis for a more information on the Cumans of Hungary see Andras Paloczi Horvath's book Pechenegs. At the battle of Kosovo Polje in 1448 there was a large contingent of Wallachians. These refugees bolstered the already substantial Rumanian population of the area. For more detailed information on their light horse see the Moldavian pages. it has however been convincingly argued that these were in fact mostly Transylvanian troops and not external Wallachians. The Hungarians had an additional source of Rumanian cavalry. It appears that the Cumans merged into the society of Hungary. arriving sometime during Micea the Old's struggle with the Ottomans. Iasians (steppe peoples in medieval Hungary) Wallachian and Moldavian Light horse Hungary employed light horse from both these nationalities. . It is only in the late 15th century under the Hunyadi's that there is sufficient evidence to form a reasonably coherent picture. They rarely appear in the native primary sources. Sources tend to include infantry when they were mercenaries. This settled existence not only eroded their culture but probably caused a rapid erosion of their horse and archery skills as well.Angevin in the critical early years of his reign. Charles success against the nobles of Hungary was in no small part due to the Cumans. Transylvania location put it in an ideal position to accept refugees from other Balkan states. more usually known as the Hungarian Illuminated Chronicle mentions seventeen hundred mercenary spearmen fighting for one of Charles Angevin's rivals at the battle of Rozgony. Janos Hunyadi's family were just such refugees. These refugees and the native Rumanians of Transylvania provided significant numbers to the Hungarian forces.

These foot soldiers are described and drawn carrying composite bows and many have sabres. especially those dealing with Janos Hunyadi. The drawings of these foot soldiers tally closely to that of mounted figures representing Hungarian light horse. Transylvania's borders were more exposed that that of Hungary itself and it suffered frequent Ottoman raids. Much like the Szekely the Saxons were given practical autonomy in return for a special annual tax to the Crown and some military obligations. By the reign of Emperor Sigismund the Saxons of Sibui had organised into eight Seats. To this Sigismund added an additional two towns. The tradition of mounted archery in Hungary and surrounding Nations makes in almost inevitable that a massed levy would produce significant numbers of foot archers as well. already mostly Saxon in population. The Transylvanian Great levy could have raised large numbers of peasant bowmen. Theoretically the Generalis Exercitus was an entirely mounted levy however Italian sources and drawings of the Italian campaigns of Louis the Great show a significant number of foot soldiers present. is the only direct record of Saxon military obligations. The Saxons Saxon was the name used to describe the significant German population settled in Transylvania. Rodna and Bistrita. Sibiu was situated on of the few easily navigable routes through the Carpathian mountains to the black sea. The end result appears to have been a highly effective local militia. The second major area of Saxon settlement was started by the Teutonic Order during their brief involvement in Hungary during the 1420's. This area was centred on the town of Brasov and like Sibui straddled a trade route through the Carpathians. This militia probably did not see service outside of Transylvania except with one notable exception at the siege of Belgrade in 1456. German immigration to the region started as early as 1150. These military obligations were the supplying of 500 warriors for internal defence and 100 warriors for foreign service. These foot archers almost certainly represented the poorer elements of the various levies of Hungary. This document. These districts and that of Brasov appear to have enjoyed similar . The removal of the Order in 1225 did little to stem the tide of Saxon settlement.Archers Up until the time of the Hunyadi's the mainstay of the infantry were foot archers. In 1224 King Andrew II granted significant rights to the Saxons of Sibui. The largest in size and importance was the settlement around the town of Sibiu (Hermannstadt in German). It seems likely that at least some of these infantry were those of the militia too impoverished to afford to fight mounted or those whose mounted skills had declined to such an extent that it was no longer possible for them to serve in their expected role. subsequently called the Andreanum. The third geographical area was centred on the three districts of Kyralia. each centred on a different town around and including Sibui. Transylvanian and Szekely foot archers also appear in the sources. As such it was a major trading town and defensive stronghold. By 1300 there were three large areas of Saxon population in Transylvania.

if necessary. There were additional settlements of Saxons especially in the towns of Transylvania but they were a minority and the smaller settlements probably became absorbed into the general Transylvanian population. When opportunity presents itself the light infantry make forays. A not unreasonable figure for a population that supposedly made up only 15 or so percent of Transylvania's total population. Mercenary foot began to appear in significant numbers under Janos Hunyadi. Given that the obligated number of Szekely was 2400 men then this would leave 1600 Saxons.000 mercenary infantry. who demand double pay because of their servants. We make it a rule that a fifth of the infantry are arquebusiers. crossbowmen and in the later period handgunners. A figure of 4. even the figures of the Andreanum cannot be used as proof for the later period. ……We regard the heavy infantry as an immovable wall that.rights to that of the Saxons of Sibui. but they are not efficient in firing as the rest of the infantry. The process continued under Matthius and at its height his 'black army' included some 10. If accurate this implies that the wealthier Saxons were equipped as knights. would fight and die to the last man where they stood. Mercenary Infantry of the Hunyadi era Infantry would always be a secondary arm for the Hungarian army. first in his position as Voivode of Transylvania and then as Regent. they do best from behind the pavises at the start of the battle or in sieges. However under the Hunyadi's they played a much more important role. The majority of Janos Hunyadi's foot were ex-Hussite troops from Bohemia and it is no coincidence that their employment dates from the same time that Janos adopted the Hussite warwagons. The precise numbers of men the Saxons could supply the Crown are unknown. others are heavily armoured. The army is described as including large numbers of townsmen and this is probably a reference to Saxons. The battle of Vasaq in 1422 saw Janos Hunyadi use large numbers of militia troops to defeat a Ottoman force. What is not recorded is just how the Saxons fought. and some are clipeati. Given the Germanic origin of the settlers it is not unreasonable to assume that their style of warfare mirrored that of the German States. In 1480 Matthius wrote a description of his infantry. In addition there are gun experts. 'some are light foot soldiers.000 men is quoted for a combined levy of Saxons and Szekely in 1430. The infantry described above continued to be used but the major change was the employment of large numbers of mercenaries. Hungarian Saxons apparently fought alongside German mercenaries employed by Janos Hunyadi. this is the first definitive source for how they were employed. For a population centred on towns and responsible for defending them the above would make sense. Also given the difficult terrain of Transylvania and the limited lines of communication infantry were much more effective than they would be on the plains of Hungary. The bulk of the Saxons though probably fought on foot as spearmen. Germans formed the next largest foot contingent followed by Silesians. . Matthius incorporated almost all of Jan Jiskra's Bohemian troops in 1462 and continued to employ Bohemians in preference to all others.

This could mean that the pavises were very large possibly mantlets and required several people to move them easily. This combined with the heavy Hussite presence amongst the mercenaries makes the use of large pavises or mantlets a reasonable assumption. As described by Matthius the handgun was not at that time a efficient battlefield weapon and required protection for the gunners. Given Matthius' use of 'castle wall'.' This translation is taken from Armies of the Middle Ages. That is to say armed with pole arms which could be used to fight from. 'fortress' and 'immovable wall' it is quite likely that these pavises of the clipeati were designed to create a defensive line. Volume 2 by Ian Heath. Handgunners or Arquebusiers The handgun was a popular weapon in the hands of the Hussites and its use spread through out the Balkans. attacking when the time is right. From Matthius' description they formed a solid shield wall from which other elements of the infantry could fight from. The use of tabor war wagons was long established as the ideal way to deploy handgunners in relative safety. The pavises all round them give the impression of a fortress. cannons and associated ammunition prior to the long campaign from the towns of Transylvania. behind which the light infantry shelter and fight as from castle walls.but. More importantly the Hussites used man portable mantlets to create a second line of defence within their Tabors. There is no direct evidence as to what the Armati were armed with. Janos Hunyadi requested handguns. published by Wargames research Group. though they were normally restricted to siege warfare. So domestic production of these items is probable. . Matthius also mentions they receive double pay because of their servants. they fall back behind the heavy infantry……All the infantry and arquebusiers are surrounded by Armati and clipeati like a fortress. over and around wagons. Armati Armati was the name applied to armoured men who usually fought alongside the Clipeati. Clipeati The clipeati were heavily armoured men equipped with pavises. Use of such large pavises is not unknown in other parts of Europe. However given the parallels that can be drawn between the Clipeati and Hussite forces it is reasonable to assume that the Armati would act in a similar fashion to their 'support' squads. if their attack loses its impetus or if they are hard pressed. or in this case the pavises of the Clipeati.

000. See Hungarian Tactics and battles for a more details on how they were used. see Hussite pages for more details on warwagons. These wagons appear to have differed little from their original Hussite counterparts and fulfilled a very similar role.The Hungarians clearly expanded on this by using the Clipeati as a protective screen. Hungarian Tactics and significant Battles Tactics .' And 'During attack they approached the enemy lines. Varna there were some 600 handgun armed Bohemians defending the Tabor. Though usually described as German or Bohemian there are also references to Transylvanian handgunners as well. Not unreasonable if the area was producing the weapons. Nearly every major battle that Janos Hunyadi fought in has references to handgunners. and axes. not surprising given the large numbers of ex-Hussites employed as mercenaries. lances.' He unfortunately does not list the original sources for these statements though most of it is clearly based on Matthius' description. hand-to-hand combat was carried out by the light infantry. 'The main assignment of both lines was to protect the third line of musketeers and the fourth line of light infantry with bows. the army of 1475 had 2. WarWagons (Tabors) Under Janos Hunyadi the Hungarians began to use warwagons. The numbers of archers available to the Hungarians and their vulnerability to hostile cavalry makes their use from behind more formidable foot a logical choice. protected by the musketeers' fire: once the enemy line was broken. KomJathy in A thousand years of the Hungarian art of war says of the light infantry. Kosovo Polje there were 2.000 handgunners defending the Tabor. Light Infantry Though never implicitly identified in the sources the usual assumption is that these light infantry were archers or crossbowmen.

Charles drew his army up opposite them but appears to have refused to advance. The objective was to sweep away the enemy flanks or force them inwards and crush their centre on the hvy infantry and wagons of the centre. The King's forces included local contingents from the town of Szepes and a force called 'crusaders' in the Chronica de Gestis Hungarorum. They drew up their forces on the slopes of the valley of the river Harnad in a very favourable defensive position possibly with the Crusaders in reserve. Knights through out the period either deployed in multiple lines or in deep columns. Like the Polish armies the Hungarians used infantry and Tabor wagons to create a strong centre from which their cavalry could operate and anchor their internal flanks. Matheus' army was commanded by Demetrius and Aba. infantry came to play an important supporting role. This mirrors the developments in Polish tactics. Bonfinius describes a Hungarian battle formation called the scorpion where infantry formed its body and the warwagons and cavalry formed the pincers. This brief description sounds very much like the Polish Crescent formation (it being based on the Mongol Grand Hunt). The light horse were used in open battle to clear away enemy skirmishers and prevent those of the enemy interfering with the deployment and charge of the knights. The forces of Matheus appear to have launched an impetuous charge against Charles and made significant progress. the royal standard bearer and several high ranking Nobles being killed. The aim of Hungarian tactics was to create situations where the charge of the knights would be decisive. supporters of Matthius. Rozgony June 15 1312 Charles Angevin defeats the last serious opposition to his rule. The Hunyadi period saw a shift along the lines of the Polish armies. the 'prince' Matheus and his allies. These were probably German mercenaries.. early March 1442 Hermanstadt (Sibiu or Nagyszeben) 22 March 1442 Vasaq 2-6th September1442 The Long campaign 1443-1444 The Battle Of Varna 1444 Kossovo 1448 Belgrade 1456 Tactics Hungary's mix of Knights with essentially Asiatic horse archers created a style of tactics broadly similar to that of Poland and the Serbians.Battles Rozgony June 15 1312 Ambush in Wallachia Nov 9 1330 Nicopolis 1396 Sava October 1441 Alba Iulia late February. Charles . Initially Charles' army was thrown back. Both styles of deployment allowed maximum manoeuvrability for the Knights and provided reserves to prevent encirclement by hostile light horse.

Hunyadi deployed his army with his heavy infantry in the centre.appears to have been narrowly avoided capture or death and subsequently fought under the banner of the Crusaders. The pursuit apparently went as far as the walls of Semendria. An Ottoman army under the Bey of Semendria blocked the Hungarian retreat.Ioan Thuroczi. Unable to pin down the Ottomans Hunyadi started withdrawing to Transylvania. This battle secured Wallachia's independence from Hungary. Precise details of the battle are not known however the main source Bonfinius states that the reserve played a decisive role in winning it. After initial successes Louis army started to suffer from supply problems. Main Source.Chronica de Gestis Hungarorum Nicopolis 1396 A combined army of Crusaders and Hungarians is defeated by the Ottomans. The crusaders tipped the balance and when Demetrius and Aba were killed the rebels fled. A truce was reached with Voivode Bazarad and Louis' army was allowed to retreat. Behind the infantry centre there was a reserve of knights under Hunyadi. Either side of the infantry centre were the Knights and heavily armoured mounted crossbowmen. However in a narrow defile with one end blocked by a log and stone wall the Wallachians ambushed the Hungarian army. In front of the cavalry were deployed the light horse. Main Source.Chronica de Gestis Hungarorum Ambush in Wallachia Nov 9 1330 King Louis with an army raised mostly from Transylvania and with large numbers of Cuman light horse invaded Wallachia to force them back under Hungarian rule. Main Source. Chronica Hungarorum 1488 Historia Pannonica sive Hungaricarum rerum decades IV et dimidia. Losses were apparently massive and the King only escaped by exchanging surcoats with one of entourage. Nicopolis 1396 Sava October 1441 Hunyadi and his personal forces along with troops raised in Transylvania attempted to drive off Ottoman troops raiding around Belgrade.Bonfinius . flanked by his foot archers and auxiliary infantry. The lack of supporting sources to Bonfinius has lead to this battle being regarded as an inflation of a minor skirmish. This battle is covered in detail in David Nicolles excellent book. It does not however detract from the deployment description which is entirely consistent with other sources for later Hungarian battles. The Chronica de Gestis Hungarorum records that Charles suffered significantly more casualties than their enemies.

The Ottomans apparently concealed a significant reserve within the village itself. The Ottomans were deployed in the valley of the river Mures. Chronica Hungarorum 1488 Historia Pannonica sive Hungaricarum rerum decades IV et dimidia. This was presumably because it appeared to be the weakest and/or most easily accessible.Bonfinius Hermanstadt (Sibiu or Nagyszeben) 22 March 1442 Reinforced by additional levies. including contingents of Szekeler and Saxons under the Royal 'Jude' Anton Trautenberger. Main Source. Bey of Vidin drew up his army somewhere near . This also suggests that their army was smaller than that of the Hungarians. At this juncture Hunyadi ordered a general retreat back to the fortress of Alba Iulia. The Hungarians also had a detachment of Transylvanian Wallachians under Basarab. with all the troops that had already gathered advanced to met the Ottomans and discovered them drawn up some miles north of Alba Iulia.000 men in an invasion of Transylvania and besieged the city of Sibiu (Hermanstadt). This rapidly turned into a rout. Hunyadi. Mezid. Hunyadi instead declared a general muster of all able bodied men and ordered them to mass at the fortress of Alba Iulia. who Hunyadi wanted to place on the throne of Wallachia. Bey of Vidin led an Ottoman army of some 16. Mezid hearing of the muster either sent or lead a detachment of the Ottoman army to disrupt or disperse it.Ioan Thuroczi. early March 1442 Mezid. certainly they were sufficiently intact to advance on Sibiu only weeks afterwards. The Ottomans instead scattered and looted the surrounding area before returning to the main army at Sibiu. The Ottoman reserves however appeared to have successfully contained the attack while the Ottoman centre launched a counter attack against Hunyadi's centre. Mezid's attack was well timed as Hunyadi's army had only recently disbanded after its victorious return from Serbia. leaving the rest to continue the siege of Sibiu. Hunyadi advanced on Sibiu.Alba Iulia late February. Usually the Ottomans preferred open battlefields where their light horse to flank and envelope their opponents. The unexpected attack by Mezid placed Hunyadi in a difficult position. son of Dan II. severely weakening Transylvania's border defences. Hunyadi's centre is described as staggering then retreating under the onslaught. Their right flank resting on the valley heights and their left anchored on the river and occupying the near by village of Santimbru.000 to 20. Hunyadi took the offensive and launched a strong attack with his right flank against the Ottoman left. Sibiu was one of the Saxon towns of Transylvania and straddled one of the few routes large enough for armies to safely traverse the Carpathian mountains. It is probable given the lack of pursuit by the Ottomans and the relative lack of casualties that this was a small scale battle and that the Hungarians had a numbers advantage. The Ottomans do not appear to have pursued the Hungarians as Hunyadi seems to have extracted the majority of his troops. If Hunyadi waited for his well trained 'regulars' to muster it was possible that the Ottomans would take Sibiu. The Ottoman deployment was unusual in that they anchored both flanks of terrain difficult to cross.

The Hungarians had a hvy cavalry reserve under Janos Hunyadi either behind the centre or on one of the flanks. There is a story associated with this battle in which Mezid ordered his army to focus their efforts in killing Hunyadi. The battle began with a general advance on the part of the Hungarians. Dispositions of the armies are not known however certain assumptions can be made from the source descriptions of the battle. The attacks to the rear and the broken flank caused panic amongst the Ottomans who fled. leaving Mezid and his son dead on the battlefield.000 men was ordered by the Sultan to invade Wallachia and turn it into a Dar-al-Ahd (dependent territory). At its most basic its likely that the Hungarian commander of the centre was killed and the Ottomans expected to exploit this and Hunyadi in turn exploited the Ottoman's commitment of their reserve to attack elsewhere. Hunyadi launched his reserve along with warwagons (possibly with light guns mounted on them) against one of the Ottoman wings. He was also commanded to invade Transylvania. possibly killing their commander in the process (see below). The Ottomans initiated a general attack at this point believing the battle won. Main Source.Bonfinius Vasaq 2-6th September1442 Sa'd ed-din Pasha Beylerbey of Rumelia leading army of some 80. Chronica Hungarorum 1488 Historia Pannonica sive Hungaricarum rerum decades IV et dimidia. Both armies appear to have deployed strong infantry centres with cavalry on the wings. Additionally Hunyadi strengthened at least one of the flanks with Tabor warwagons. At this stage Hunyadi unfurled his personal standard and led the attack on one of the Ottoman wings. Kamonyai was killed in the Ottoman counter attack on the centre.Sibiu. The reality appears to be that Basarab with Hungarian support had managed to raise a revolt in Wallachia . where upon the Ottomans believing Hunyadi dead and his army's morale ruined pressed home the attack. These orders having reached Hunyadi led to a certain Simon Kamonyai wearing Hunyadi's armour and carrying Hunyadi's Voivode of Transylvania standard and leading the Hungarian centre. breaking it. Bonfinius further describes Hungarian captives behind the Ottomans rising up and attacking them. Simon Kamonyai was also apparently accompanied by Hunyadi's elite Szekely bodyguard. Basarab and his Wallachians apparently pursued the fleeing Ottomans deep into Wallachia. A counter attack by the Ottoman centre and reserves successfully contained the Hungarian centre. the precise location has never been identified. His army contained Janissaries and six Bey and Sandjek Beys from Anatolia and their troops. Initially the Hungarians succeeded in pushing back the Ottoman centre. Hunyadi's candidate for the throne of Wallachia had been enthroned as Prince of Wallachia after the battle of Hermanstadt (Sibiu). Basarab. More likely detachments of the Hungarian army had worked their way around the Ottoman flanks. As with many such stories though there may be truth mixed in.Ioan Thuroczi. The Ottomans a infantry reserve massed behind their centre. This story may well be a heroic invention as such events are popular for the period. Both armies also appear to have had a reserve.

Combined with the Royal troops. Poles.and gain control of parts of the Country. Sa'd ed-din's army was too large for Basarab to confront on his own and he retreated along with his followers into the mountains to await reinforcements from Hungary. His infantry centre may have been supported by warwagons in their advance.Bonfinius Laonic Chalkondyles. Hunyadi also equipped some 600 Tabor warwagons. particularly Brasov in the months of March. In fact Thuriczi was actually using the name to describe the terrain of the battlefield. 5. With this and his own money Hunyadi raised some 10. The wagons were in turn flanked by cavalry. the majority of his forces moved up the valley of the Ialomita river. described by Thuriczi as the iron gate.000 men comprised Czech. The Hungarians described as 'peasants.000 men. gunpowder and artillery from the Transylvania towns.000 men. Both Thuriczi and Chalkondyles make the point that this battle marks a change in Hunyadi's strategic tactics.Ioan Thuroczi.000 to 12. Chronica Hungarorum 1488 Historia Pannonica sive Hungaricarum rerum decades IV et dimidia. Sa'd ed-din split of elements of his army to pursue Basrab and to plunder the countryside. Hunyadi also received large sums of money from the Serbian prince Brancovich. Historical Chronicles The Long campaign 1443-1444 Preparations for an offensive began as early as the end of 1442. This policy would continue up until the battle of Kossevo in 1448. Hungarian pursuit apparently being light. June and July 1443. Serbians and Transylvanians. News reached Hungary during June or July that Murad II had been badly defeated in Anatolia fighting against the rebels of Carmania. Serbians under Brancovich and . True to his previous successful offensive tactics Hunyadi attacked. 200 standards. The majority of the Hungarians instead were hunting down the Ottoman forces that had been sent raiding the Wallachian countryside and in a series of clashes destroyed them. From this battle Hunyadi takes the war away from Hungary's borders. This description has led to the battle been mistakenly described as being fought near The Iron Gate on the river Danube.. townspeople and Szekelers' numbered some 15. the last apparently being on the 6th of September.000 camels. horse and mules. Hunyadi and Basarab's troops confronted the Ottomans at a narrowing of the valley. Once again the infantry was draw up in the centre with Tabor warwagons on their flanks and their rear as well. The battle was hard fought with the Ottoman army not breaking until near dark. Sa'd ed-din and the remnants of his army successfully retreated and crossed the Danube. The Ottomans lost some 20. Cardinal Cesarini brokered a peace between Elizabeth and King Ulászló I. German. They drew up in the narrowest part of the valley. the walls being described as mountainous. There are documents that show Janos Hunyadi requested wagons. Main Source. though Hunyadi also allowed serf soldiers to join his forces as well. Mercenaries apparently making up the majority of the force. The Ottoman dispositions are not described in the sources.

The Hungarian army was able to advance on Sofia and take the city without further fighting.000 men. his Transylvanians and those troops of Nicholas Ujlaki rapidly advanced ahead of the main army and seized the town of Nis. Hunyadi was appointed military CinC of the campaign. In turn Hunyadi was able to surprise the Ottoman vanguard shortly after the . Significantly more casualties were inflicted on the Ottomans by the local population as they retreated. Near Kunovitsa the Ottomans surprised the Serbs and scattered them. The lateness of the campaign start took the Ottomans by surprise and they were unable to prevent Hunyadi's rapid advance. the Bey of Semendria attempted to stop or at least delay Hunyadi's advance at the river Morava. killing some 2. with the help of the Ottomans. Hunyadi's victories led to additional Serbs from the Ottoman occupied territories joining the army. Murad not given an opportunity to strike directly at the Hungarians instead concentrated his efforts on the forces of the Serbian Prince Brancovich which were retreating separately. Ishak. Hunyadi leading some 12. On the 12th of December at the village of Zlatitsa Hunyadi decided to make his attempt but found an Ottoman army under the Grand Vizier Halil-Pasha already dug in behind palisades. Hunyadi continued to probe the passes around Zlatitsa but was unable to force his way through. Hunyadi reacted quickly and defeated the Ottomans convincing Murad to pursue 'at a distance' and await his chance. Hunyadi's successes however led Dracul to hedge his bets and so Mircea was dispatched to provide assistance. The Hungarians were successful in pushing the Ottomans back behind their defensive line but were unable to make any further headway.000 cavalry. On the 24th somewhere near Melstitsa.000 prisoners. The army finally entered Ottoman territory in September 1443. While at Nis Hunyadi received word that Murad II had made peace with the Emir of Carmania and had returned to Adrianople. Murad reinforced the detachments holding the mountain passes through which Hunyadi would have to march to attack Adrianople or reach Constantinople. including the loss of most of their wagons and horses. On the 23rd of December the Sultan arrived with additional troops and Hunyadi ordered the retreat back to Hungary. The delay apparently being caused by Jiskra's refusal to honour the peace brokered by Cesarini until September 1st. Halil-Pasha seeing the size of the Hungarian army decided to give battle and advanced beyond his defences. Fighting with the river to their rear the Ottomans were outflanked and defeated and forced to retreat over the river. In addition a small Wallachian force under Mircea. The Hungarina retreat was disciplined despite severe supply problems. Nis was the main muster town for the Ottoman troops of Vidin and Nis. Hunyadi's installed candidate. son of Vlad Dracul also arrived to assist the Hungarians.Wallachian troops under their own leaders the Hungarian force numbered some 35. Hunyadi's advance troops were able to attack and defeat three separate Ottoman detachments as they advanced to mass on the town. Hunyadi instead of taking the most direct passes through the mountains instead cut east presumably hoping to overwhelm these passes before Murad could bring his army to their aid.000 and taking at least 4. 20th November Hunyadi defeated the Beylerbey of Rumelia. the vanguard of the Ottomans under the Beylerbey of Rumelia attacked the retreating Hungarians. With Murad II mustering troops Hunyadi returned to the main army just in time to join it in defeating another Ottoman army made up of a fresh detachment and remnants of the detachments defeated around Nis. Vlad Dracul had regained the throne from Basarab.

Philip the Good of Burgundy. In return for Brankovic's estates Hunyadi was to convince the King that peace with the Sultan was worthwhile.000 men crossed the Danube on . Ulászló broke the treaty almost immediately. However Hunyadi had proved that with a large disciplined force of mercenaries the Hungarians were more than capable of taking on Ottomans forces far larger than their own. Prince of Serbia.Bonfinius The Battle Of Varna 1444 January 1444 the Army returned from the long campaign and is disbanded. The basic plan put forward was that fleets from Venice. p687 Ioan Thuroczi. On April the 14th in front of the Diet Cardinal Cesarini took Ulászló's oath that with in the year he would lead a fresh campaign against the Ottomans. The King was able to mount the campaign almost immediately. Overtures apparently began in March with Brankovic approaching Hunyadi. The army was in the field for six months. A Crusading army led by Hunyadi and Ulászló would recapture all of the Ottomans European provinces. innumerable skirmishes and managed to retreat in good order.battle and disperse them. The Long campaign was not an unqualified success. Whether there was an intended deception of the Ottomans or not. An army mustered from Royal. in Hurmuzaki. Chronica Hungarorum 1488 Historia Pannonica sive Hungaricarum rerum decades IV et dimidia. Ulászló was in negotiation with George Brankovic. Episcopal troops and from Transylvania numbering some 16. Murad II through his wife Mara Brankovic offered Brankovic the return of all his lands if he could organise a truce between Hungary and the Ottoman Empire. capturing Mahmud Celebi. It should be noted that Brankovic was also a Hungarian Noble by virtue of the massive estates he held there. Murad stopped his pursuit and the Hungarians were able to withdraw to their own borders. This distinction had not saved him from having his lands ravaged and two of his sons blinded for assisting their father in resisting the Ottomans. Genoa and the Papacy would block the sea routes from Asia Minor to the Balkans by cutting the straits between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean. Sources Hunyadi's letter to Nicholas Ujlaki 8th November 1443. Even as the Diet was discussing the forth coming campaign. The campaign was seen in Western Europe as a glorious success. Brankovic was the father-in-law of the Ottoman Sultan Murad II. the Grand Viziers Brother and the Sultan's brother in law. four of which in Ottoman territory. Ulászló did sign the treaty with the Ottomans and Hunyadi did take control over Brankovic's estates. It did however sowed the seeds for the disaster at Varna the following year. Venice and Genoa all pledged their support for the enterprise. the army had suffered severely from supply problems and had lost all their warwagons and supply wagons. The capture of this man appears to have been the catalyst for a truce. It had advanced some 300 kilometres into Ottoman territory. Besides the Pope and Ulászló. fought seven major battles. At the Hungarian Diet in April Cardinal Cesarini announced the formation of a coalition against the Turks.

The Hungarian advance was rapid. There they would met up with elements of the Papal fleet and move down the coast to Constantinople.000 men. Whilst Papal. mostly Royal and foreign mercenaries. The left of the Hungarian line was commanded by Michael Szilagyi. Hunyadi convinced them that this course of action would only lead to disaster and that the only possible way to extract themselves was by offering battle. a total of 5. The chroniclers describe the discussions of the Hungarian war council. The line was some 1. with some Episcopal and Noble banners as well. The lack of any significant numbers of infantry clearly caused Hunyadi problems. Cardinal Cesarini commanding two banners of German mercenaries/crusaders. the Hungarian army was smaller and very imbalanced. The son was probably Micea though no direct evidence exists. though none are mentioned. the rest possibly under the joint command of Hunyadi and King Ulászló. backed onto the Black sea was the camp and wagon laager. Deployment Bonfinius describes the Hungarian deployment as an arc or crescent shape between the Devina Lake and the Frangen hills. The Hungarian Royal mercenaries under Stefan Batori. There were also 100 warwagons probably with crews. Cesarini and many of the nobles were for fortifying themselves with in a wagon laager and waiting for the Papal fleet to arrive. except 100 to 300 Czech mercenary handgunners. organised into 5 Banners. The breakdown of the right wing was. Hunyadi was appointed commander of the army and it was decided to give battle the next day. It contained almost no infantry. . his deployment was such as to minimise the risk to the right of Ottoman infantry moving through the hills and falling on the exposed end of the line. The right of the Hungarian army was the largest. fortresses were bypassed and the Ottomans refused to give battle. the Bishop of Erlau commanding his own banner and The military Governor of Slavonia. later sources attribute the leader as Drakula but this is unreliable as it is used to show early signs of his perfidy.500 men and were organised into 2 banners.the 20th September. The Black sea to the East and heavily forested hills and marshes to the North.000 Wallachians under one of Vlad Drakul's son's joined the Hungarians. The plan of the campaign is well recorded. To the rear of the Hungarians. The Hungarians were essentially trapped.500 men. defended by drivers and the 300 Czech mercenary soldiers.000 paces long and shaped as it was so that the right of the line was facing both to the front and towards the Frangen hills. His force was almost entirely made up of Hunyadi's Transylvanian troops and German mercenaries and also banners of Hungarian Magnates. Venetian and Genoese ships blockaded the Dardanelle straits the Hungarian army was to advance on the coastal town of Varna. in overall command was Bishop Jan Dominek of Varadin with his personal banner. Continuing their rapid advance the army reached Varna on the 9th of November. Possibly because of the relatively short period between the Long campaign and this one. pushing the Ottomans out of the Balkans as they went. Hunyadi's brother in law. numbering some 6. Near Nicopolis on the 16th of October a contingent of some 4. divided into 5 banners. They numbering some 3. The rest of the army was heavy cavalry. Talotsi. The centre was held by the King's Polish and Hungarian bodyguards. Hungarian Royal mercenaries and banners of Hungarian Nobles. That night the Hungarians were surprised to discover a massive Ottoman army encamped to their West and South.

The rest of the Hungarian right dispersed and fled. The Ottomans deployed with the Spahis of Rumelia on their right.000 men. The Spahis of Anatolia on the left numbering somewhere around 15.commanding one banner. each army had lost a wing. The centre was comprised entirely of infantry. with the aim of aiding his beleaguered right! All other sources either imply or state that the Ottoman right was instead ordered to attack their Hungarian counterparts.000 in all. numbering some 10. Parts of the Hungarian left pursued then began looting. Only Talotsi and his banner were able to extract themselves in any kind of order. Unlike the rest of the Hungarian army these banners were deployed very deep. The centre was dug in behind ditches and barricades and was deployed behind the line of the cavalry wings. The Wallachians moved away from their position in the centre and headed away from the battle. Almost immediately the Hungarian battle plan came apart. fracturing the Hungarian line and exposing the centre's flank. now including the Royal Hungarian Guards attacked the Ottoman left.000. though the Ottomans was arguably in reasonable order. Bonfinius at least agrees that Hunyadi's line was able to overlap the Ottomans causing them to recoil. Opening Phase Map At this juncture sources differ as to What happened. Hunyadi lead the elements of the Hungarian left and centre that had remained in good order towards the now disorganised Ottoman left. They were able to withdraw to the wagon laager and take refuge within it. then withdraw. Middle Phase Map At this stage the battle remained almost evenly matched. Bonfinius implausibly describes Hunyadi leading the majority of the centre and the left wing in an attack on the Ottoman right. The Bishops of Erlau and Varadin launched their banners at the attacking Ottomans. subsequently looting parts of the Ottoman camp before retiring in good order back to Wallachia. This withdrawal may or may not have been a rout what is certain is that the Rumelia forces retreated a significant distance away from the battle. Almost the entire Hungarian army. The Battle The Ottomans began the attack with their left in concert with the troops occupying the Frangen hills. The success of the Hungarian left was immediately tempered by the collapse of Hungarian right. The Wallachians had advanced at this point to occupy the part of the line left vacant by Hunyadi's attack on the Ottomans. Despite their disorder the Ottoman left was able to put up spirited resistance . Once the Ottoman right was engaged with the Hungarian left Hunyadi personally led Batori's Banner in an attack on the flank of the Ottomans right. Behind the centre of the Hungarian army the Wallachians were deployed in reserve. There was an additional force of Janissary/ azab archers and Akinji light horse deployed in the Frangen hills. the Sultan's Janissaries and the levies from Rumelia. The Banners of the Bishops pushed deep into the Ottoman line but were rapidly surrounded. numbering some 15 to 20. three banners to the front and two to the rear. Talotsi led the remaining banners of the wing to their aid.

Szilagyi. isolated with only infantry.000. Bonfinius records Hunyadi warning Ulászló to wait until the army had reformed before engaging the Ottoman infantry but Ulászló disregarding this advice and being urged by his Polish bodyguard to seize the opportunity for glory.000 Ottoman cavalry. then conquer Macedonia and Southern Serbia. His objectives were not as ambitious as those of the Varna campaign. Hunyadi retreated through Wallachia where according to popular accounts he was held prisoner by Vlad Drakul. Unlike Mohacs of the following century the Hungarian presence was actually limited and Hunyadi's military and political power in Hungary suffered only marginally. The majority of the force were mercenaries. Though Hunyadi was held briefly by the Wallachians it appears to have been a mistake on the part of a local Wallachian Noble rather than at the direct order of Drakul.Ioan Thuroczi. Historical Chronicles Kossovopolje 1448 In the year 1448 Hunyadi was in a position to once again attack the Ottomans. In this way the . It should also be noted that the major commanders of the army. The Ottoman troops did not pursue for at least a day. apparently the losses were sufficient for Murad to state 'may Allah never grant me another such victory'.Bonfinius Laonic Chalkondyles. What ever the reality of Hungarian losses they were in essence replaceable. The aftermath Casualties for the battle are variously recorded in the sources. Hunyadi and Talotsi all managed to return to Hungary. Chronica Hungarorum 1488 Historia Pannonica sive Hungaricarum rerum decades IV et dimidia. most of dubious quality. What seems certain is that Ottomans suffered significant losses. Hunyadi aimed to link with Scanderbeg and his Albanian rebels. Hungarian casualties are often portrayed as massive. Certainly the period immediately after Varna shows quite cordial relations between the two which is rather at odds with the popularist account of his capture. Ulászló charged the Ottoman Janissaries and inevitably despite initial success was overwhelmed and killed. Main Source. one letter stating only four Noblemen made it back to the borders of Hungary! The most common figure for Hungarian losses puts the figure at 10. they refused to actively pursue the retreating Hungarians and retired to their camp after the battle. leaving the Sultan on the battlefield. End Phase Map Bonfinius describes how what could have been one of Hunyadi's greatest victories was turned rapidly into a crushing defeat.and it was only when the Beylerbey of Anatolia was killed that they broke and fled the field. Despite the odds the Hungarian army had successfully destroyed or neutralised over 35.000 men at of 16. The Hungarian army broke up into small groups and retreated.

European domain of the Ottoman Empire would be split in two. Hunyadi gathered his army on the banks of the Danube. Given the limitations of the General Levy Hunyadi preferred to rely on personal ties and troops under his direct command. As a result the core of his army was from Transylvania with the only major Hungarian contingents supplied by Franko of Talovak, Ban of Dalmatia and Croatia and his Brother-in-laws, Micheal Szilagyi and Janos Szekely. Hunyadi's army marched into Serbia making quick progress but unlike previous occasions the Serbians did not join the army in any significant numbers. At Kossovopolje Hunyadi rested the army either waiting for Scanderbeg or prior to marching to join Scanderbeg. On October 17th Hunyadi's forces were surprised by detachments of Murad's army moving onto the Kossovo plain to their North. An unwelcome surprise, even more for Hunyadi as he was under the belief that Murad and the main Ottoman forces were campaigning in Asia Minor. Hunyadi now faced a difficult decision, either retreat further into Serbian territory, away from Hungary and face the possibility of attacks on his marching army or stand and fight. Though not the ideal position from which to fight, the Kossovo plain at least well scouted by Hunyadi and his officers. Hunyadi's first course of action was to dispatch much of his light horse to block the passes towards Pristina, they were successful though the clashes are described as 'bloody'. By the end of the day the entire Ottoman army was deployed on the southern bank of the Lab river, with hills to their east and the river Sitnica protecting their Western flank. The Ottoman camp was positioned on the Northern bank of the Lab river. The distance between the two encampments was some 4 to 5 kilometres. The Armies. Hungarians Hunyadi's army numbered in the region of 24 to 30,000. Included in this total was a Wallachian force maybe numbering as high as 10,000 men under Dan, Prince of Wallachia. Seenotes as to the likely composition of this force and why I have accredited the command to Dan rather than the more usually mentioned Vladislav II. The rest of Hunyadi's force was a mix of infantry and cavalry. 2,000 to 3,000 German handgunners are mentioned in the sources, as are Transylvanian infantry. Along with the infantry there were warwagons, though their numbers are not known. The army was accompanied by a supply train of some 2,000 wagons. The sources say that many of these wagons also pulled cannons. Hunyadi was apparently very well equipped with artillery for this campaign, presumably to reduce Ottoman strongholds in Albania and Macedonia. One such model of cannon is mentioned by name, the Zarobotana (a corruption of the Italian Cerbottana) meaning a cannon capable of firing at longer ranges than normal. The cavalry were mostly Heavy cavalry a mix of Mercenaries and the banners of Hungarian Nobles. Light cavalry was also present in significant numbers, the bulk provided by Wallachians and Transylvanians, presumably Szekely. There were sufficient numbers of light cavalry to form skirmish screens in front of both wings of the army. The Ottomans The Ottoman army has been variously estimated from 50,000 to 400,000 men! The Turkish

Sources closest to the time put the figure at between 50,000 to 60,000 men. The army was comprised of the Spahis levy of both Rumelia and Anatolia and the Sultans personal army of Janissaries and court cavalry. The similarity in the sizes given and those for the Ottoman army at the battle of Varna, 60,000 seems to be the reasonable upper limit. 18 October 1448 The Hungarian Deployment, 18th October. Hunyadi had placed his camp on a hill which dominated the land around it. The supply wagons were used to build a fortified area. His large artillery train was placed amongst and on these wagons, giving them a dominating field of fire towards the Ottoman camp. Hunyadi deployed his cavalry in front of his fortified camp in two lines. The first line comprised of a heavy cavalry centre with wings of light horse. The heavy cavalry of the centre were the banners of Transylvania, Slovenia and Croatia under the command of Janos Szekely and Franko of Talovak. The light horse of the left flank was personally commanded by Voivode Dan, presumably his Transylvanians and Wallachians. The right flank's first line light horse was under the command of Benedict Losonczi. Behind the first line Hunyadi positioned a second line of entirely heavy cavalry. He personally commanded the centre of the second line comprised of Royal troops, mercenaries and some banners of Transylvanians. The left flank's heavy cavalry was under the command of Stephan Banffy. The right flank's were also under Benedict Losonczi who positioned his standard and commanded from the middle of the Knights. Both flanks heavy cavalry appear to have been made up of banners from the Hungarian Magnates who had been willing to follow Hunyadi. The third line of the Hungarian army was the infantry, massed behind the fortifications of the camp and the warwagons. Behind or possibly in the camp there was an additional reserve of cavalry. The description of the third line's defences is general in nature but it is not unreasonable to assume that the warwagons formed the front of the camp. Hunyadi's basic battle plan appears to have been to attack with the cavalry and if they were hard pressed to retreat behind or through the fortified third line of the infantry and regroup. The infantry, warwagons and cannons providing the protection whilst they reorganised. The total number of banners of cavalry, including light horse is given as 38. The Ottoman deployment, 18th October The Ottomans deployed in front of the south bank of the River Lab, their right flank resting on the Sitnica river. Going against tradition the forces of Anatolia were positioned on the right. The Rumelia were positioned on the left in advance of the centre and the right. Both flanks comprised entirely of cavalry, two lines of Spahis with multiple lines of Akinjis skirmishers and other levy light horse to their front. The centre of the Ottoman deployment was held by the Sultan and the infantry, in 3 lines. The rearmost line was that of Janissaries with the Sultan, the second line was artillery, dug in behind redoubts. Around the Janissaries and the artillery was a further defensive ditch and surrounding this on three sides was the first line of infantry made up of Azab levies.

The Battle, 18th October The Ottomans began the battle with an attack by the Rumelian cavalry on the Hungarian right. As soon as they advanced the Hungarian light horse line retreated in good order behind their heavy cavalry supports. Fierce fighting followed with the Hungarians holding but being unable to make head way. Hunyadi fed some of his central units into the fight on his right. The Ottomans then launched the Anatolian cavalry against Banffy and Dan's commands. Dan's Wallachians also manoeuvred behind their heavy cavalry support though then deployed on their far left, presumably to cover the exposed flank, which did not have the terrain coverage of the right. The Anatolians pushed the Hungarians back but were stopped when Hunyadi led part of the central command into the fighting. Map- Opening Phase

At this point the Ottoman Azab infantry attacked the now weakened Hungarian centre. They cracked the centre of the line but were halted by cannon fire from the wagon fortifications. The line was sealed by a counter attack by the Hungarian infantry. With the Ottoman centre and right held, Hunyadi fed more reserves into the fight on his right flank. Parts of the Rumelia troops broke and fled into the hills surrounding the area. The rest managed a controlled withdrawal to their camp. At this stage the rest of the Ottomans forces broke off combat and retreated. Hunyadi also retreated to his camp. Map- End of phase The night of 18th October The sources for the aftermath of the first day are at odds about what happened during the night. Chakondyles states that the Hungarians launched a night attack against the Ottoman camp but were repulsed by the Janissaries. Hunyadi in a letter to the dean of Cracow (30 December 1448) merely mentions a continuous exchange of cannon fire. What does seem clear is that the Hungarians expected the Ottoman's to retreat the following day as was their usual tactic when unable to force the issue in a single days fighting. The Hungarians put the day's casualties as 15,000 to 16,000 Ottoman dead, the majority from the Rumelia contingent. The Ottomans though do not appear to have suffered any where near this number and the majority of the Anatolian contingent had not even been engaged that day. The deployment and course of the battle the next day do suggest that Rumelia forces were badly weakened.

Battle 19th October Ottoman deployment The Ottoman deployment mirrored the previous day. Except that the cavalry of Thessaly were removed from the Rumelia contingent and sent on a flank march around the Hungarian army. The Sultan ordered Turakhan, the Beylerbey of Rumelia to lead it himself. The remaining combat worthy troops of Rumelia were ordered to take up their previous positions.

Opening Phase Day2 With the situation precarious for the Sultan. all other sources say Banffy retained command. Map. they were accompanied by the more mobile of his artillery pieces. They were held by the reinforced Hungarian right. The Battle 19th October The Ottomans began the attack with the cavalry of Anatolia. The Azabs were driven away by artillery fire and the Hungarian infantry attack. he ordered the main baggage camp commander. At this juncture Turakhan and the Thessalonians cavalry arrived behind the Hungarian left wing.Hungarian deployment Hunyadi either divined that the focus of the day's battle would be his left flank or was informed of the Sultan's intentions by deserters. personally lead by Hunyadi broke through the Janissary line. It would take the Ottomans the best part of the morning to overwhelm the camp.000 men or as little as 6. With this failure Hunyadi retreated his centre back to its original positions. The Ottoman artillery and Janissaries were able to halt the advancing Hungarian infantry. Either way Hunyadi strengthened his left by moving Janos Szekely and his men from the centre to the left and adding in his cavalry reserves. The Anatolians began to rollup the Hungarian flank. Unable to manoeuvre to respond to the threat Dan and his Wallachians were rapidly overwhelmed and forced to surrender. Over the two days the Hungarians are said to have lost as many as 17. the Hungarian right was under pressure but holding and their left was unable to make headway against the Ottoman skirmishers. Hunyadi ordered the retreat back to camp. The difference in the two could be due to the differing versions as what happened .End phase Day2 The aftermath Hunyadi decided to retreat in the early hours of that morning. With both flanks in a stalemate Hunyadi lead his centre against the Ottoman infantry. However the addition of the Hungarian cavalry. allowing Hunyadi to exit the camp with the majority of the army. The battle stalemated at this point. Bonfinius records that Szekely was placed in command of the left. Micheal Szilagyi led a feint with some of the cavalry. Map. Hunyadi also left part of his infantry to cover his withdrawal.000 men. Hunyadi deployed most of infantry as part of his centre. Szilagyi would be captured in the course of this diversion. This ill-armed force was sufficient to stabilise the Ottoman line and allow the Janissaries to recover their cohesion. The Hungarian centre and left retired in good order but their right was decimated and Szekely was killed in the fighting. His right flank's deployment remained the same as the previous day's. Sinan-bey to reinforce the centre with his camp guards and the army followers. The weakened Ottoman left began skirmishing with the Hungarians to their front and Losonczi was hard pressed to prevent them slipping behind the Hungarian lines. by this time Hunyadi and most of his army had successfully broken contact from the Ottoman forces.

and his forces to depose Vlad Drakul. though does not give the source of the information. it is however possible that these were a mix of true Wallachians and Transylvanian Wallachians. Prince of Serbia. Turakhan-Bey. Notes on the Battle of Kossovo Wallachian troops and their commander? The name of the commander is not known for certain. Dan however was unable to retain the throne as other nobles attempted to emulate him but with Ottoman support.000 as they had swapped sides. Like Varna. a Wallachian noble. They are attributed as being Wallachian. Prince of Wallachia from 1447 until 1456. It is also possible that Dan had retained control of the Western part of Wallachia. Later chroniclers such as Bonfinius name him as Vladislav II. Hunyadi was captured by Brankovitch. after being struck in the rear by a detachment of the Ottoman army and forced to surrender. However there is no contemporary source that places Vladislav at the battle of Kossovopolje. at least securing the neutrality of Wallachia. The chroniclers go as far as to name the commander of this force as the Beylerbey of Rumelia.000 and 40. there seems to have been a very limited pursuit only. during his retreat and it would take until December before his return to Hungary. The Ottomans are said to have lost between 30. Hunyadi interfered again and captured and blinded the main Ottoman candidate. The subsequent massacre makes sense if these were rebels against Vladislav II. Belgrade 1456 . Chalkondyles figure does seem unlikely given how badly Rumelian troops suffered on the first day and the two defeats suffered by the Azab infantry. It is also uncertain exactly what troops were with Dan at the battle. Muresanu in his description of the battle says Hunyadi assigned troops to his command. Hunyadi did not however return Dan to the throne. In 1448 a Hungarian army under instructions from Hunyadi assisted Dan. Once Dan was declared Vioviode of Wallachia the Hungarians withdrew. though Chalkondyles puts it at only 4.000 troops. Voiviode Dan however had every reason to assist the Hungarians as they offered his only chance of regaining the throne of Wallachia. instead he supported Vladislav another noble with links to the Ottomans. Excluded from the the Wallachians. It appears that Hunyadi supported Vladislav as a compromise. Ottoman chroniclers describe Vladislav as a friend to the Ottomans and a personal friend to the Ottoman commander of Nicopolis.000 men. with Hungarian support. Unlike Varna Kossovopolje weakened his domestic support and gave rise to a period of instability and the end of Hunyadi's aggressive policies towards the Ottomans. Given that Vladislav retained the throne until 1456 and appears to have enjoyed good relations with the Ottomans for most of that period his appearance at Kossovopolje on the side of the Hungarians is unlikely. The Ottoman chroniclers however make it quite clear that Dan and his Wallachians were captured during the battle. The common interpretation of the battle is that the Wallachian contingent swapped sides causing the defeat and were subsequently massacred by Murad. The truth probably lies somewhere in-between the two figures.

Vladislav II. Unfortunately the Saxon elements of Transylvania ignored Hunyadi's requests as it had been their lands that had suffered the greatest in the Wallachian incursions.In 1455 news reached the Hungarian court that the Ottomans were massing a warfleet on the Danube and mustering men and supplies. Hunyadi initially attempted diplomacy but this appears to have had little effect as Vladislav subsequently supported a rebellion in the Hungarian controlled city of Fagaras in early April 1456. Hunyadi responded with a rebellion of his own. There is no evidence that Saxon troops arrived to help. Czechs and Poles. The conqueror of Constantinople. The nobles despite their personal mistrust of him turned to Janos Hunyadi for leadership. was an ally of the Ottomans and had in 1455 with the assistance of Ottoman troops raided and plundered across Southern Transylvania. Firstly the current Wallachian ruler. not only had he initiated repairs and the building of fresh defences as far back as 1442 but he had also managed to ensure that the commander of the Belgrade fortress was an excellent soldier and his personal friend Micheal Szilagyi. As it became clear that Belgrade was the likely target of the Ottomans the inhabitants rallied to Szilagyi and provided him with an enthusastic militia but more importantly the manpower to further improve the city's defences. Mehmed II. Prince Vlad. Hunyadi also turned to the Serbs and Albanians for support. Hunyadi reinforced the fortresses along the Danube particularily Belgrade whose strategic position made it the mostly likely target fot the Ottomans. however unlike the capaign of 1448 which ended badly for the Hungarians at the Battle of Kossovo this time Serbian support was emphatic and wide spread. Hunyadi was once again in effective control over Hungary. gained rapid support from the Wallachian Boyars and by the end of June 1456 had killed Vladislav and was undisputed king of Wallachia. Hunyadi is recorded as sending over 5000 mercenaries to Belgrade. Hunyadi's long term planning was paying dividends. he gave the son of a previous Wallachian king men and money. It was hoped that Papal ships could intercept or at least hinder the movement of Ottoman troops from Anatolia. Hunyadi's focus was Wallachia for two main reasons. made no secret of his desire to add Hungary and Serbia to his Empire. Much to the dismay of many Hungarian Nobles king Ladislas V took this moment to go on a hunting trip. The local Serb population around Belgrade added considerably to the defenders of the city. There are three letters from Hunyadi in three weeks to the Saxon leaders asking them to join the muster at Seghedin. There are no details of any communications between George Brankovitch and Hunyadi. April 1456 the Hungarian diet was convened with the purpose of organising Hungary's defence. one that was based in Vienna and would only end after the Ottoman threat had passed. With the initial defence of Belgrade taken care of Hunyadi set about raising a field army and gaining allies. A general mobilisation was declared and a plea was sent to the Pope for support. Vlad's rebellion was sufficently successful from the outset that Hunyadi was able to pull most of his personal troops out of Transylvania to the muster point at the city of Seghedin. It was outnumbered at least four . Described as a mix of Hungarians. A Serbian army of some 9000 men attacked the Ottoman main army as it advanced up the pass of Moravia towards Belgrade. The effect of this was that Hunyadi was unable to remove many of his most trustworthy and reliable troops as they were required to guard against further Wallachian incursions. later famous as the 'impaler'.

By the 4th of July the numbers of Ottomans gathering around Belgrade and the arrival of the Ottoman fleet made Hunyadi's presence on the south side of the Danube very risky. horses and armour. most only having slings and clubs. He duly crossed over the Danube and made camp at the fortress of . Early in June Hunyadi moved his army down the Danube to Kubin (Kovin) and just after the 22nd crossed the river to its Southern bank. The crusaders made their way to the camp at Seghedin. Priests and monks had been spreading the news of the Ottoman threat to Belgrade and preached a crusade to come to Hungary's aid. many arriving after the final battle for Belgrade. abandoning them he and his troops returned to Belgrade by foot. especially Hunyadi's banderium and Transylvanian troops. Only those with a vested interested mustered as required. Scanderbeg of Albania responded to Hunyadi's request for help and gathered an army but was unable to come to his aid. Many citing the King's absence as reason enough. By the end of June some contempories estimated that there were over 60. Despite the small number these were on the whole very experianced. This figure may well include the population of Belgrade who also fought in the last days of the siege and the militias of Southern Hungary and Transylvania. a Giovanni Tagliacozzo. Chief amongst these was the Monk inquisitor John Capistrano who since late 1455 had been persecuting anyone not of the Catholic faith in Transylvania. There was however an unexpected development throughout Hungary. about half were said to be mercenaries or transylvanian troops. At the same time as the Ottoman army was advancing on Belgrade a secondary force attacked Albania directly. In a series of skirmishes Hunyadi slowly retreated towards Belgrade. who wrote from Belgrade shortly after the relief of the city that there were some 27-28000.000 crusaders gathered at the camp. This gave Hunyadi a field force of some 15. A more realistic figure is given by a fellow crusader and collaborator of Capistrano. Serbia and even the Holy Roman Empire . The 2nd of July saw Belgrade reinforced by a large group of crusaders under Capistrano who used five large transport ships to get them into the city. Though some had one. Capistrano attempted to link up with Hunyadi's forces to the south with three of the ships but a storm wrecked them. This was presumably to prevent Albanian assistance to the Hungarians but also as a continuation of the previous year's campaign. Large parts of the Ottoman army was able to bypass his skirmishers and were outside the walls of the city sometime near the end of June. and had little hope of success.000 men. A further blow to Hunyadi was the refusal of most of Hungary's senior noblemen to participate in the campaign. Nobles with estates in Southern Hungary rallied to Hunyadi as did many of the minor noblemen whose causes Hunyadi had championed over the years. The Serbs lost the engagement but in doing so gained Hunyadi more time to organise his forces. Despite the adverse reaction to his inquistion amongst the Nobles and the general population his call to arms struck a cord and soon people were flooding to his crusading banner. Descriptions of these crusaders vary but all are consistant in that they were badly armed and equipped. Some were minor Nobles who had previously been restrained by ties to Noblemen hostile to Hunyadi but most were common people.

captured or so badely damaged that the Sultan later had them fired to prevent their capture.Zemun north east of Belgrade. This Peter has never been positively identified however his inclusion and mention of the fact that he was responsible for the Crusader flag probably indicates that he was Hunyadi's man. Capistrano withdrew from the city before it was surrounded and returned to Seghedin where he gathered the rest of the available crusaders and marched South to join Hunyadi. Szilagyi crewed the ships with Serbs from the city. victory. His death appears to have demoralised or at least dampened the spirits of the Ottoman troops. With the arrival of the Otoman fleet Belgrade found itself under seige. Once Hunyadi's attack had begun Szilagyi was to launch a sally from the city with the forty or so ships moored at the city docks. Fierce resistance by the Hungarian defenders. The Ottoman fled advanced from the Belgrade blockade to meet them. one lucky shot killed the Beylerbey of Rumelia who had been in over all charge of the Ottoman siege works. finally swung in the Hungarian favour by the arrival of the Belgrade ships. paced by some 15-20000 infantry on the Southern bank of the river. his artillery train rapidly destroyed the outer walls and small scale assults kept up the pressure on the defenders. Hunyadi set about commandering all naval vessels he could find and gathered them at Slankamen. The role of the infantry was to prevent detachments from the Ottoman army interfering with the naval battle and to capture any Ottoman vessel or crew forced to beach. The reason given in the contempory sources is that they would do anything to repel the Ottoman invaders. if bloody. The Ottoman superority of numbers quickly showed as they breached the outer defences and were able to reach the inner fortress before the draw bridge could be raised. The descturction of the Ottoman fleet opened up Belgrade to resupply and each night saw fresh equipment and men shuttled over by ship. Outfitting these as best he could Hunyadi had a force of some 200 ships with which to attempt a relief of Belgrade. there to ensure that Capistrano did not make any foolish errors. The lead ship of the fleet was described as exceptionally powerful and well built. On the 21st of July the assault was launched. A more cynical reason would be that the the Serb irregulars were more expendable than Szilagyi's few professional troops. The core of this infantry were the Transylvanian militia but a large number of Crusaders commanded by Capistrano were also present. Despite the loss of his fleet the Sultan continued the siege. One Source mentions a noblemen called Peter carrying the crusader banner. As a result Mehmed II decided on a general assault to achieve a quick. The ottomans lost some ¾ of their ships. either sunk. Hunyadi was able to continue communications with Szilagyi in Belgrade and the relief attempt was set for the 14th of July. The 4th was also the day that the first of the Ottoman heavy seige cannons began bombarding the city walls of Belgrade. On the 14th of July Hunyadi's fleet sailed towards Belgrade. The Hungarians were themselves not inactive. including Hunyadi and his banderia saw the Ottomans repulsed from the gateway but not before . The fight lasted some 5 hours. Hunyadi made it his flagship and placed dismounted men at arms on it. their limited amount of artillery were constantly in use. Some were military vessels from the Danube fleet but most were transport/merchant ships of varying size.

is the inclusion of several standard myths associated with the Hunyadi period. they are almost impossible to get hold . Also the placing of the battle of Vasaq at the 'irongate' on the Danube. After three such attacks were beaten off the Ottoman army refused to try again and remained on the defensive. These well trained mercenaries and veterans quickly over turned the Ottoman resistance and captured their main artillery postitions. The ringing of the Bells was actually introduced before the siege of Belgrade by Pope Callistus III as part of the Catholic Angelus prayer. Hunyadi had the lighter of these pieces turned around and trained on the Ottoman camp. Though Bob does not list all his sources he seems to have relied on ones different to myself and it makes interesting reading. I'd recommend Bob Black's pamphlet on Janos Hunyadi and the Turkish invasions of Hungary as an excellent alternative source of information. My one gripe with it. Fighting was soon heavy with groups of ottoman cavalry launching counter charges against the Hungarian foot in a desperate attempt to defend their artillery. It is linked to the events of 1456 but only in that it was announced as part of the Papal declaration of a Crusade against the Ottoman Turks. Sources for Hungary Primary Sources This is the biggest problem with researching Hungarian military history. Additional support from mercenaries in manouverable boats saw the Crusader troops drive the Ottomans out of Belgrade and by evening had recaptured the city. Despite this set back Crusader troops were able to affect a crossing from the North side of the river Sava and successfully counter attacked the Ottoman troops within Belgrade's outer defences. Seeing the situation stale mated Hunyadi threw in the rest of the Hungarian forces. The Sultan in turn launched his own counter attacks to recapture his guns.Janissary sappers had successfully destroyed the draw bridge. leaving massive amounts of valuables and equipment behind. Succesive attacks were beaten back by the Janissaries at the cost of their commander's life and the wounding of the sultan. preventing the Garrision from easily sallying against them. The following day the Crusader forces and transylvanian militia within Belgrade launched a disorganised surprise attack on the Outer Ottoman seige works. it is pretty clear from the available evidence that the chronicler only used the term 'irongate' as a descriptive term and not a specific location. The price was high for the Hungarians as within days Janos Hunyadi contracted the plague that was sweeping the camps and died. Though there are a reasonable amount of primary sources for the period. for example the Ringing of Church Bells at noon everyday to commemorate Hunyadi's victory at Belgrade. With night fall the Ottoman army withdrew from their camp and retreated. This was supported by the rest of the crusaders in the camps across the Sava river. A full assault with artillery support was then launched on the Ottoman camp.

Laonic Chalkondyles. this is it.1495 Bonfinius takes much of his information from the above two sources. By far the best English translation book on Hungarian medieval history. All I ask is that they be taken with a pinch of salt until such times as copies of the original sources become available. Chronicon Budense 1473 Marco Antonio Bonfinius (Bonfini). For example I have seen Hussar lances (original was spear) translated from the Hungarian into English as pike. I have used these English translations for the Hungarian pages. Chronica Hungarorum 1488 Anonymous. Secondary Sources -Realm of St Stephen by Pal Engel. Historical Chronicles For a comprehensive list of primary sources for the period. again only available in major libraries. However had it been a description of an infantrymen the possibility for confusion is far greater. Some like Bonfinius have been published in German but these date from the 18th and 19th Centuries and as a result are only available. If you want one book on Hungarian history. Not really significant for a horsemen as pike is obviously incorrect. simply because they are the only 'source' material available. Two important Byzantine writers that cover the period are. Ioan Thuroczi. It also contains the most military information outside of the dedicated Journals listed below. These quotes however can almost all be traced to the few Hungarian history books translated into English. Additionally even though there are much more recent Hungarian translations these do not usually come with the original Latin text. see the opening chapter of the Biography of Janos Hunyadi by Camil Muresanu. Decline and fall of Byzantium to the Ottoman Turks. Obviously these multiple translations could have distorted the original meaning quite significantly and is entirely dependant on the familiarity of the Translator with Hungarian and Latin military terminology. Doukas. at some major libraries.of. Very few of the sources below have been published in 'Western' Europe. adds new information and unfortunately heavily embroiders his work with fanciful tales. This book has the most balanced account of the Hunyadi period that I have come across. These means that these quotes have been translated from the Latin into Hungarian and then into English. on site. The latest combined Hungarian and Latin text of Bonfinius dates from 1911 and is in three volumes. Select quotes on military matters do appear from the sources in English. Historia Pannonica sive Hungaricarum rerum decades IV et dimidia. .

Bela K Kiraly -The Hungarian-Croatian border defence system. Osprey Campaign series. -A Magyar Viseletek Tortenete by Nemes Nagy Tompos. -Militia Portalis in Hungary before 1526 by Andras Borosy -Society and War from mounted Knights to the standing armies of absolute kings Hungary and the West.-Biography of Janos Hunyadi by Camil Muresanu. Iasians (Steppe peoples in medieval Hungary) by Andras Paloczi Horvath -Military reform in early fifteenth Century Hungary by Joseph Held. Later Hungarian Armylist Book 4 list 43 . The first chapter is an extremely detailed look at the sources for Hungary at the time of Hunyadi. -Armies of the Middle Ages. That said it is still a very balanced and very well researched and detailed history of Janos Hunyadi and his times. The author is Rumanian and this occasionally shows through as a slight bias in his writing. XL no 2 Articles of interest in From Hunyadi to Rakoczi . One minor niggle p38 Vlad Tepes (the Impaler) is listed as 1418-56. -The Hungarian Hussar. Vol.Once again the notes and lectures of Professor Les Collins. In Hungarian but plenty of drawings and illustrations on Hungarian personal military equipment/costumes. A close second. Ferenc Szakaly -Nicopolis 1396. -Transylvania a short history by Istvan Lazar Corvina publications Hungary (English) -The Magyars. Well worth buying and again good from a military point of view. Volume 2 by Ian Heath . Corvina publications Hungary (English) Only the first chapter is relevant. David Nicolle. -Hungary and the Fall of Eastern Europe 1000-1568. Corvina publications.Pechenegs. Eastern European quarterly. their life and civilisation by Gyulo Laszlo (English) pre 1300 only. My only slight issue with this book is occasionally the standard of the English translation lapses into some very peculiar syntax and word usage. Vlad Tepes was born in c1431 and died in 1476. Osprey Men at Arms Series by David Nicolle. On the whole a good introduction to the area and period. Cumans. .

BUA C-in-C. Jazyges or Ruthenians.Szekelers Irr LH(S) @7AP or Tatar Reg Lh(S) @7AP *5-20 .TF @1AP Wallachian Allies or Moldavian Allies.Irr Kn(O) @20AP Regrade Foot Archers as Bosnian Archers. Ag 2. WW.Author: Matt Haywood Synopsis: This list alters some of the basic elements of the original Later Hungarian list which in my opinion do not reflect the historical sources.Irr Sp(I) @3AP Foot Archers.List Medieval German (Bk4) In 1285 AD only: Mongol allies. H(G).Irr Kn(O) @10AP or Reg Kn(O) @12AP Hungarian.list Later Polish (bk4) Only from 1382 **1 **6-12 **0-2 0-1 1-2 0-12 1 1-2 2-10 15-24 0-8 0-24 0-12 Semi-Nomadic Cavalry. Cuman.Irr Bw(I) @3AP with upto 1/3 Irr Ps(O) @2AP Wagon Laager for camp. RGo.Irr LH(F) @4AP Hungarian Foot Archers or with Shields as Irr Bw(O) @4AP From 1340AD: Bosnian Nobles. Rv. removal of Bd(O) foot and Hd(S) and inclusion of a fleet.Irr Kn(O) @20AP German City Allies.List Wallachian or Moldavian (BK 4) Only before 1308AD 7 Regrade Sub General as Allied General.Irr Kn(O) @20AP Nobles and Mercenaries.Irr Kn(O) @20AP 1 2 3 4 5 6 Sub Generals. The major items are the regrading of mercenary Knights to Kn(O).List Golden Horde and Successors(BK4) 8 9 Replace Sub General with Cuman allied General Only from 1322AD to 1453AD <indented> Bosnian Allied General. Rd. Proposal: Cold.Irr Kn(O) @10AP Only between 1349 to 1382 and between 1440 to 1444 Polish Allies.

any infantry] @2AP 0-6 0-2 0-2 any.Reg Art(I) @4AP 14 15 16 Zarobotana Heavy per DBM Later Hungarian List 12 13 Armati and Clipeati. Cuman.options as per DBM Later Hungarian List Only from 1440 AD 10 11 2 Nobles and Mercenaries. 2 TF per WWg 0-4 ****02 per Irr Sp(I) or Bw(I) 0-16 0-8 ***0-2 Upgrade Generals to Reg Kn(O) @32AP Upgrade CinC to Reg Kn(S) @35AP Upgrade CinC with Polish Bodyguards to Irr Kn(S) @22AP Replace Nobles and Mercenaries with 2-20 0-3 0-1 0-1 6-12 17 General Levy and crusading foot. Jazyges or Ruthenians with 3 Hungarian. Jazyges or Ruthenians.Irr Kn(O) @10AP or Reg Kn(O) @12AP Upgrade Nobles to Royal Banderium.Reg Art(O) @8AP or Reg Art(S) @10AP Replace Warwagons with entrenched Warwagons as part of the camp defences.Irr LH(F) @4AP Only in 1396: Crusade of Nicopolis.Hd(F) @1AP Only from 1442AD to 1446AD . Cuman.TF @1AP Danube per DBM Later Hungarian List [can support Reg Sp(O)] Mercenary per DBM Later Hungarian List [can support Reg Sp(O)] War Wagons -Reg WWg(O) @10AP Light Guns. @15AP Serbian Husars.Reg Sp(O) @5AP Upgrade Foot Archer Bw(I) or Ps(O) to Reg Ps(O) @2AP [can support Reg Sp(O)] Crossbowmen.Bt(O) [Dismounted Kn as Bd(S).Replace Hungarian.

Regular Knights from the start of the list and grouped mercenary/Nobles Hungarian Kings. During Charles' campaign to reassert Royal control over Hungary he fought the battle of .List: Serbian Empire(Bk4) Only from 1490AD German or Italian Pikemen.* minima applies if any Lh(S) are per DBM Later Hungarian List Army Notes A Bosnian General can only command Bosnians and must command all those present. this included the militia. The available evidence only shows the title being given to Hungarian Nobles. Notes 1 I have removed the Szekely Lh General option as there is no evidence for the Counts of Szekely having a distinct battlefield role nor fighting in anyway other than as a Knight. Additionally from the time of Janos Hunyadi the title and responsibilities of the Count of Szekely were almost always (with only one exception) granted to the Voiviode of Transylvania. The Counts of Szekely were appointed by the King and there is no record of a Szekeler ever holding the post. I have removed the seperate entries for Armigeri and Nobles and combined them. Kn(S) or have any allies. ** This applies if any troops so marked are used. *** CinC must be Kn(S) for Royal Banderium to be used. Irreg Lh(S) must outnumber Reg lh(S) by at least 2:1. at least from the time of Charles Angevin appear to have employed significant numbers of mercenary Knights. Regular Ps(O) and Ps(S) can support Regular Spearmen. As such a Hungarian Noble would have had his own personal Banderia with which he would have taken the field. Saxons and Szekely. Even here it was an alliance of local Nobility. I have allowed Regular Knights to be used from the start date of the list.**** The maximum H(F) that can be used is 20 even if the total of Sp(I) and Bw(I) exceeds 10 elements. As often as not these were Hungarians and were raised under a Disposito (commision) from the Crown and paid for out of the Royal Treasury.Serbian Allies. Armati and Clipeati are best represented by 2 halberdier and 2 paviser figures per element. The Counts held complete control over Szekeler lands and people. The only recorded time that the Szekelers operated as an semi-independent force was in putting down the 1437-38 peasant revolt in Transylvania. (Engel) 2 There are two basic issues here. I have also reclassified the Armigeri mercenary DBE Kn(I) as Kn(O). Armies representing Jan Jiskra's mercenary forces 1440-61 cannot use Lh(S).

labelled crusaders in the sources held and won the battle. Serbs and even some Swiss. The implication. Also though Louis called on the Generalis Exercitus (mass levy) on several occasions during his reign it only ever saw service domestically or in 'small' wars in Croatia and Bosnia. One such notable company was the Magna Societas Ungarorum. Hungary had at this time large gold and salt mines. implying to me mercenary wages at a fixed rate. There is also the general issue of money. Simon Meggyes led one such army to the aid of Pope Innocent VI. especially as the battlefield frontage was very narrow (1. this includes 3 banderia of Hungarian Magnates. Bonfinius on the battle of Varna makes the specific statement that the Knights deployed in deep formations. Additionally although the mercenaries are inevitably describes as Bohemian or German they included. the title confered on those given commands of Disposito units. (Engel and Muresanu) Armigeri mercenary DBE Kn(I) as Kn(O) The appears to be a default assumption that all 'Germanic' Knights are to be classed as dbe Kn(I). it is certainly at odds here as Charles was a supporter of the pagan Cumans and supported by them. Louis' campaigns in Italy appear to have been carried out by mercenary troops. It was one of the few monarchies that could afford mercenaries in substantial numbers. Despite describing earlier battles of Hunyadi. There exists a letter in which the 2 Barons are admonished from accepting any money from the Italians as they had already been supplied with sufficent to pay the troops. However foreign troops. I do not believe the evidence warrants this. Polish. Again Levied and Noble troops are unlikely to be paid or if they were not on a regular basis. The Hungarian Kings appear to have had a cash flow substantially greater than that of their contempories.000 paces) makes this unusual rather than usual. Charles going as far as to defy the Catholic Church on their behalf making true crusaders a little unlikely area of support for him. It would only be with Matthius' massive 'black army' that cashflow would become a problem. June 15 1312. Part of the reasons for deep formations of Knights was to allow the placement of the best armoured men to the front. 'Crusader' appears to have been a popular phrase for describing mercenary troops. Louis appears to have been able to predict the amount of money required for the campaign. After his return to Hungary much of his army remained and formed mercenary companies on the Italian model. Silesians. The Count of Pressburg. Moravians. Mercenary troops became common place under Charles' son Louis. making it one of the wealthiest in Europe. Levied troops and Noble Banderia are unlikely to have had such latitude nor desire to form such mercenary companies. None renowned for fighting in the manner attributed to the domestic German Knights. most involving large numbers of mercenary knights this is the first mention of such a deployment. What sources there are available make no mention of any difference in the styles of fighting between Hungarian and mercenary elements of the army. Hungarians. Italians. fully controlled by the Crown.Rozgony. Similarily the army sent to Naples in 1380 was commanded by 2 Barons and assisted by 15 Royal Captains. here impetous attacks from his opponents broke his own Noble supporters. .

Reducing the minima to 6 after 1382 has better evidence though is still debatable. like the Chronica de Gestis Hungarorum is that Cuman cavalry were very important to both Charles and Louis and at this stage the Magyar population could still be providing effective troops. So a bit touchy. It outlined that for every twenty serf-lots (portae) a Noble was expected to raise and led 1 archer (probably mounted). This combined with the ever increasing use of 'foreign' light horse and lack of any evidence for domestic skirmishers has led me to reduce the numbers allowed. From Hunyadi to Rakoczi The repeated edicts and changes to its requirements for domestic light horse seem to indicate a failure to produce the required results. . XL no 2 Militia Portalis in Hungary before 1526 by Andras Borosy. We don't have any direct evidence for the composition of pre 1382 armies and as such minimums are hard to judge. We also have the repeated edicts on the Militia Portalis. For more detailed information and examination of the evidence on the Hungarian organisation see the following articles: Military reform in early fifteenth Century Hungary by Joseph Held. It first appeared in documents of 1397 during the reign of Sigismund. The question is just how likely is it that the equipment amongst the mercenaries would have varied so drastically as to require such deployment? Given the substantial numerical distadvantage of the Hungarians when facing Ottoman forces. These were often Wallachians (Varna and Kosovo Polje). the varied nature of mercenary nationalities and the exception made for Varna by Bonfinius I see no reason why dbe Kn(I) should be better representative than Kn(O). Eastern European quarterly. though not remove it entirely. There is also amble evidence for the Hungarians relying on 'foreign' or specialist cavalry to act as skirmishers. Failure of the Generalis Exercitus during the Hussite wars saw further attempts at reform between 1432-35. Firstly in every recorded battle post 1382 there is never a mention of Magyar or Cuman skirmishers. However as the impression of the available sources. Serbians (the long campaign and many of Matthius' battles) or Szekelers and Tatars from within Hungary itself. feely I'm afraid. These appear to have been more successful and there is documentary evidence of the use of the Militia Portalis from then on. This is despite Sigismund ordering his Nobles to bring at least 2 mounted archers each. At Nicopolis it was planned for Transylvanians to counter the Ottoman Akinji on one wing while the Wallachians did so on the other. The Militia Portalis was born out of attempts to reorganise and reform the general levy. What is often assumed is that this soldier was a peasant from such holdings this though is never actually specified by the documents of this time or later. It appears that this initial attempt failed under opposition from the Nobility. 3 I have increased the minima for Lh(F) prior to 1382. This specific levy was not to be limited by service within Hungary nor the 15 day period of service. Vol.essentially protecting the less well equiped.

5 Altered in keeping with prefered guidelines on bow armed troops. 12 I have amalgamated the Clipeati Sp(O) and Armati bd(O) into one group. My justification is based on the descriptions of how the Hungarian infantry fought: . 9Bosnia became a vassal of Hungary in 1322. 6 Removed the option for allied contingents to be used together. at least to qualify as a DBM external ally. be it by family or other trusted counterpart. I have also increased the maximum allowed. they also provided by far the largest contingents for his army. This is in part to reflect likely recruitment via the Generalis Exercitus and Militia Portalis. presumably part of the justification for additional Knights. even some of his defeats potray a highly disciplined force almost certainly deserving of Regular status. Dismounting as Bd(S) achieves pretty much the same result. Here the Voivodes of Wallachia and Moldavia are listed along with troop numbers. see Andras Borosy's article. 10 Representing mercenary Generals and those Hungarian Generals that saw significant service under Janos Hunyadi. they were the predominate troops so replacing a third command seems more logical to me. The Szekely and Tatars were obligated to provide military service to the Crown. Again there is no evidence to support automatic inclusion in a Hungarian army. see point 12. 7 Altered the handling of allied Generals prior to 1308. Depending on what is being depicted I think there is still justification for 1 reliable subordinate. In the early years Cuman support was the deciding factor in Charle's campaigns. Making them an option for a fourth command seems out of step. 8 The original entry in the list presumably represents the support given to Charles during his wars to control Hungary. The successes of Janos and his armies. all classed as Sp(O). It is also to reflect Janos Hunyadi's calling of the mass levy in 1442 and 1456. It is also unlikely that both would honour any assumed vassal obligation at the same time. 1340 saw the ruler of Bosnia given substantial estates in Hungary. Armies of Elizabeth's rebel supporters (1440 to 1444) and those of the Hussite mercenary Jan Jiskra would have had no access to these troops being based mostly in the North and West of Hungary. 11 The option to regrade the CinC to represent Ulászló I suicidal charge at Varna at the urging of his Polish bodyguards. a classification of ax(O) is pretty unjustifiable. In the case of the Szekely 2400 men for a campaign in a given year. Automatic reduction of all Sub-Generals to allied status seemed a little too harsh. There is no evidence to suggest that either Nation actually provided troops for Matthius. prior to that it was part of Croatia. The only evidence to suggest this is the list of Matthius' forces by Sebastiano Baduario (figures can be found in the WRG armies of the middle ages bk2).4 Here I have removed the minima for Lh(S). Given the complete lack of evidence for how Bosnian Generals fought in battle.

lances. but they are not efficient in firing as the rest of the infantry. Musketeers is likely a bad translation from KomJathy's original Hungarian and not a 'mistake' by the author. behind which the light infantry shelter and fight as from castle walls. and axes. Volume 2 by Ian Heath. ……We regard the heavy infantry as an immovable wall that. 14 The Zarobotana (a corruption of the Italian Cerbottana) meaning a cannon capable of firing at longer ranges than normal are recorded as being used at Kossovo and advancing with the infantry in the attack on the Ottoman infantry centre. Matthius' description appears to show that the Armati and Clipeati worked together. . We make it a rule that a fifth of the infantry are arquebusiers. would fight and die to the last man where they stood. published by Wargames research Group KomJathy in A thousand years of the Hungarian art of war says of the light infantry.In 1480 Matthius wrote a description of his infantry. I have included Art(S) as it is the DBM rule book definition for larger gunpowder artillery. protected by the musketeers' fire: once the enemy line was broken. 'The main assignment of both lines [refering to the Clipeati and Armati] was to protect the third line of musketeers and the fourth line of light infantry with bows. this is the first definitive source for how they were employed. they do best from behind the pavises at the start of the battle or in sieges. but. 'some are light foot soldiers. To me a Art(O) classification is better than an Art(S) in these circumstances. if their attack loses its impetus or if they are hard pressed. hand-to-hand combat was carried out by the light infantry. hence the combined Sp(O) classification. The pavises all round them give the impression of a fortress. attacking when the time is right. In addition there are gun experts. they fall back behind the heavy infantry……All the infantry and arquebusiers are surrounded by Armati and clipeati like a fortress.' This translation is taken from Armies of the Middle Ages.' And 'During attack they approached the enemy lines.' He unfortunately does not list the original sources for these statements though most of it is clearly based on Matthius' description. and some are clipeati. 13 Given the likely origin of Clipeati and Armati as mercenaries it seems appropriate to regrade their supporting archers as Regular and limit their numbers and preventing them being used to support Hungarian irreg spear. others are heavily armoured. Separate Bd/Sp groups gives too much flexibility to the list and probably does not reflect historical use. if necessary. When opportunity presents itself the light infantry make forays. who demand double pay because of their servants. all receiving protection from the Pavises and inturn protecting the handgunners and archers.

In addition hd(F) better reflects the use of these troops. Laonic Chalkondyles. Alba Iulia. Chronica Hungarorum 1488 Anonymous. 16 The Hungarians had fleets on the Danube and Sava rivers. Sources Ioan Thuroczi. Bonfinius says Hunyadi used the boats as reserves. Here 'crusaders' attacked without orders. Two important Byzantine writers that cover the period are. Hermanstad and Vasaq in1442 and Belgrade in 1456.1495 Bonfinius takes much of his information from the above two sources. 17 This replaces the Hd(S) classification of the original list. The crusaders though did not only comprise enthusastic badly armed peasants but included the general levy of Transylvania. The only evidence for impetous behaviour is at the second day of the relief of Belgrade.15 The battle of Kossovo saw the warwagons used as part of the usual wagon laager defences and it was sufficently large to contain all the infantry. manned by his mercenaries and sent to areas of the city where they were most needed. Hd(S) implies a fantatical enthusasism which I do not think is warranted here. Though the only recorded use in battle was during the seige of Belgrade in 1456. doing less well in the open. adds new information and unfortunately heavily embroiders his work with fanciful tales. some of these including handguns. There are three battles where volunteers and peasant militia were present. Decline and fall of Byzantium to the Ottoman Turks. This may explain why a third of the crusaders are described as being competent with arms. Janos Hunyadi describes it as a battle rather than a siege as the city wall had mostly been collapsed and it turned into a running street fight. Historia Pannonica sive Hungaricarum rerum decades IV et dimidia. Doukas. Historical Chronicles . artillery and a cavalry reserve. As all the battles where such irregular militias were present included the general levy of Transylvania I have linked the use of the Hd(F) to the basic Irreg Sp and Irreg Bw of the list. At Vasaq the terrain was a narrow valley floor with mountainous sides. Chronicon Budense 1473 Marco Antonio Bonfinius (Bonfini). forcing Hunyadi to commit his regular troops to the fight. At Belgrade the 'crusaders' excelled at the fighting in the narrow streets of the city.

Pechenegs. On the whole a good introduction to the area and period.For a comprehensive list of primary sources for the period. -Hungary and the Fall of Eastern Europe 1000-1568. Iasians (Steppe peoples in medieval Hungary) by Andras Paloczi Horvath -Military reform in early fifteenth Century Hungary by Joseph Held. Volume 2 by Ian Heath . -Militia Portalis in Hungary before 1526 by Andras Borosy -Society and War from mounted Knights to the standing armies of absolute kings Hungary and the West. this is it. Vlad Tepes was born in c1431 and died in 1476. Corvina publications. -Armies of the Middle Ages. Osprey Men at Arms Series by David Nicolle. Corvina publications Hungary (English) Only the first chapter is relevant. David Nicolle. This book has the most balanced account of the Hunyadi period that I have come across. The author is Rumanian and this occasionally shows through as a slight bias in his writing. -The Hungarian Hussar. The first chapter is an extremely detailed look at the sources for Hungary at the time of Hunyadi. My only slight issue with this book is occasionally the standard of the English translation lapses into some very peculiar syntax and word usage. One minor niggle p38 Vlad Tepes (the Impaler) is listed as 1418-56. Cumans. Osprey Campaign series. Vol. That said it is still a very balanced and very well researched and detailed history of Janos Hunyadi and his times. In Hungarian but plenty of drawings and illustrations on Hungarian personal military equipment/costumes. It also contains the most military information outside of the dedicated Journals listed below. Well worth buying and again good from a military point of view. see the opening chapter of the Biography of Janos Hunyadi by Camil Muresanu. A close second. Secondary Sources -Realm of St Stephen by Pal Engel. If you want one book on Hungarian history. -Biography of Janos Hunyadi by Camil Muresanu. Eastern European quarterly. -A Magyar Viseletek Tortenete by Nemes Nagy Tompos. . XL no 2 Articles of interest in From Hunyadi to Rakoczi . Ferenc Szakaly -Nicopolis 1396. By far the best English translation book on Hungarian medieval history. Bela K Kiraly -The Hungarian-Croatian border defence system.

their life and civilisation by Gyulo Laszlo (English) pre 1300 only. Replica Pavise from the time of Matthius 54mm model of Matthius' army besieging a Austrian castle .-Transylvania a short history by Istvan Lazar Corvina publications Hungary (English) -The Magyars. Medieval Hungarian Picture Gallery Pictures courtesy of Chris Pringle. from a visit to the Hungarian Military Museum in Budapest.

taken at the Hungarian Castle of Visegrad. the original banner was in fact White which later oxidised to black.Black Army Banner. Medieval Hungarian Picture Gallery Pictures courtesy of Emmanuel Roy. . not far north of Budapest.

.These are scale replicas of some of the war wagons of Matthius Hunyadi. By the looks of the piccies 1/4 or maybe 1/3 size.

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