Battle of Kosovo (1448): Wikis


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For the other Battles of Kosovo, see Battle of Kosovo (disambiguation)
Second Battle of Kosovo
Part of the Ottoman wars in Europe and Ottoman-Hungarian Wars
Sueleymanname akinci.png
An Akıncı irregular defeating a Hungarian knight.
Date October 17 - October 20, 1448 (Julian calendar)
Location Kosovo Polje, present-day Kosovo, Serbia
Result Decisive Ottoman victory
 Ottoman Empire Armoiries Hongrie ancien.svgKingdom of Hungary
Armoiries Wallaquie XIV.png Walachia
Murat II.jpg
Flag of the Ottoman Sultanate (1299-1453).svgMurat II
Iancu Hunedoara.jpg
Armoiries Hongrie ancien.svgJohn Hunyadi
~ 40,000[1] to 60,000[2] 24,000[2][3]
Casualties and losses
~34,000[4] 17,000[4]

The Second Battle of Kosovo (Hungarian: második rigómezei csata, Turkish: İkinci Kosova savaşı) (October 17–October 20, 1448) was fought at Kosovo Polje between a coalition of the Kingdom of Hungary and Wallachia lead by John Hunyadi, against an Ottoman-led coalition under Sultan Murad II.



At 1448, John Hunyadi saw the right moment to lead a campaign against the Ottoman Empire. After the Defeat of Varna (1444), he raised another army to attack Ottomans. His strategy was based on an expected revolt of the Balkan people, a surprise attack, and destroying the main force of the Ottomans in a single battle. Hunyadi was totally immodest and led his forces without leaving any escort behind.

The Albanian leader Skanderbeg and his troops moved to join the Hungarian coalition but they were prevented from advancing by the Ottoman vassal Đurađ Branković of Serbia, and delayed from reaching the battlefield.[5] Hunyadi himself never carefully planned a conjunction with the Albanians.[4]

The battle

When John Hunyadi arrived at the field of Rigómező (Kosovo Field), he realised that the Sultan's troops were occupying the hills behind his own army having been informed of the Sultan's intentions by Serbia's despot, Brankovic.[5] After a heavy fight a contingent of knights captured the hills and proceeded to build defences there, making use of war wagons.

The next day the battle opened when Hunyadi attacked the Ottoman flanks with mixed cavalry (light and heavy). The Turkish flanks, consisting of soldiers from Rumelia and Anatolia, were losing until Turkish light cavalry arrived to reinforce them. The Christian flanks were subsequently routed and the survivors retreated back to Hunyadi's main force. When Hunyadi saw the defeat of his flanks, he attacked with his main force, composed of knights and light infantry. The janissary corps were not successful and the cavalry made progress through the Turkish center, but were stopped at the Turkish camp. When the main attack was halted, the Turkish infantry regrouped and successfully drove the Hungarian knights back. The light cavalry, who were now without the knights' support were also overcome. Hungarian forces retreated to their camp. During the retreat, the janissaries killed most of the Hungarian nobles and Hunyadi fled. However, Serbs later captured him. During the night, Turkish infantry fired missiles at the Hungarians who replied with cannons. On the next day, a final assault totally annihilated the remaining Hungarian army.

The two-day battle in Kosovo saw both sides taking heavy casualties and left the Ottoman force in command of the field at the end of second day. The Hungarians were supposed to be 24,000[2][3][1] and the Turkish around 40,000 to 60,000.[1][2]


This battle demonstrated that the Janissary corps, even if their lines were broken through, would not run away from the field if defending the Sultan himself. Otherwise, one major defeat of the Turkish army could have caused only a short turmoil - it would have needed several defeats in a series to break the power of the Ottomans.

The Christian Balkan states were unable to resist the Ottomans after this defeat, eventually falling under control of the Ottoman Empire. Hunyadi successfully defended the Kingdom of Hungary against the Ottoman campaigns. Skanderbeg also successfully continued his resistance in Albania until his death in 1468, 12 years later the country fell to full Ottoman control.


  1. ^ a b c Bennett, The Hutchinson Dictionary of Ancient & Medieval Warfare, p. 182 "Hunyadi led 24,000 men including 10,000 Wallachians, but should have waited to join Scanderbeg's troops before confronting Murad's force of 40,000."
  2. ^ a b c d Sedlar, East Central Europe in the Middle Ages, p. 248 "Hunyadi,who was now the richest landowner in Hungary, had raised an army of 24,000 men from his private resources, including German and Bohemian infantrymen armed with handguns to supplement his Hungarian cavalry. [...]This time the sultan brought on to the field a force of at least 60,000 men including Janissaries with muskets and a contingent of artillery."
  3. ^ a b Turnbull, The Ottoman Empire 1326-1699, p. 36 "Hunyadi led an army of 24,000 men, including 8,000 Wallachians, but suffered another military defeat without even seeing his Albanian allies."
  4. ^ a b c [1] Mehmed the Conqueror and His Time by Franz Babinger, page 55
  5. ^ a b [2]East Central Europe in the Middle Ages, 1000-1500 by Jean W. Sedlar, page 393


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