Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Battle of Mohacs 1526 - Ottoman Wars DOCUMENTARY

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By 1522, the great Christian fortress of Rhodes had been taken, and the Ottomans had regained

dominance in the Mediterranean Sea, so all their resources could now be redirected towards

the mainland.

Their target was the Kingdom of Hungary, a fragile land rife with internal chaos - a

nation ripe for the picking.

Welcome to our video on the Battle of Mohacs, one of the most

significant clashes in the history of Europe.

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It had been the ambition of the Ottomans to conquer the heartlands of Europe ever since

Sultan Mehmed II.

Suleyman I knew that the Kingdom of Hungary was the door that would lead them

into the core of Christendom, and with the current political climate in Europe, the Hungarians

would receive little to no aid against this pending Turkish invasion.

Suleymans reign began with the conquest of the Hungarian controlled city of Belgrade

in 1521.

With the fall of Rhodes in 1522 he was able to refocus his resources back onto mainland


Europe was a divided continent whose great powers were locked in perpetual feuds.

Among these were the Kingdom of France, and the

Holy Roman Empire, ruled by the Charles V of the

famous Habsburg dynasty.

These states were too engaged in a struggle over control of Italy to

pay mind to the Muslim empire at their doorstep.

This was something the Ottomans intended to exploit to their advantage.

In 1525, the Habsburgs of Spain and Germany crushed a French army at Pavia, and captured

the French King, Francis I. Francis was forced

to make territorial concessions to the Habsburgs and

relinquish his claims to Italy.

And out of desperation, France began looking for an ally to aid in

their struggle against the Habsburgs.

Francis turned to the Ottomans.

He implored Suleyman for an alliance and pleaded for him to

attack the Habsburgs.

This sent shockwaves throughout Europe.

Suleyman was delighted at the prospect, for an alliance with France increased

his legitimacy as a European Emperor, and gave

him a pretext to carry out an invasion he had planned on leading anyways.

In order for the Ottomans to strike at Habsburg territory like the French wished, they would

need to first go through Hungary.

This new alliance gave Suleyman extra incentive to finish what hed

started in 1521, and begin rallying his army for an invasion of the Hungarian Kingdom.

It is here we should turn the clock back a bit to explain the state of Hungary leading

up to the Ottoman invasion.

Since 1490, the country had been stuck in a downward spiral.

King Vladislaus II was an ineffective king who sought to placate

his nobility by selling almost all his Royal

Estates to them, but succeeded only in empowering the Hungarian magnates to take advantage of

his weakness.

Centralized power declined, and the standing army of Hungary was disbanded by

the lords, eager to increase their own profits.

Things only became worse in 1514, when a man at arms named György Dózsa formed a peasant

Crusade of 40,000 farmers, originally intended to attack the Ottomans.

During harvest season, the Hungarian nobles tried to force the peasants

to return to their homes, and harassed their families to coerce them to do so.

All that accomplished was to incite the peasants into full-scale

revolt, resulting in a war that would ravage all Hungary.

The rebellion was brutally put down by the Voivode of Transylvania, John Zapolya,

and over 70,000 peasants would be captured and

tortured in the aftermath.

The young King Louis II ascended to the Hungarian throne in 1516, and over time realized the

threat the Ottomans posed to his realms existence.

His pleas for unity fell upon deaf ears, for the

peasants, lords, and royal house of Hungary all had enmity for one another.

The land was divided, and vulnerable.

On the 23rd of April, 1526, Sultan Suleyman I left Constantinople at the head of a massive

army, accompanied by his most trusted vizier Ibrahim


Varying sources put the total numbers of this force between 50,000 to 100,000.

It was made up of labourers, cavalry and elite Janissaries

alongside 300 cannon.

The Ottomans embarked upon an 80-day march up the Balkans, during which torrential rains

flooded the Danube river, making maintaining of supply lines difficult.

Nevertheless, through the iron discipline of the vizier Ibrahim, the

Ottomans reached Belgrade.

From Belgrade, Suleyman sent Ibrahim ahead to capture the fortress of Petrovaradin.

Ottoman sappers detonated mines beneath the walls,

and the Janissaries charged in, taking the fortress

while only losing 25 men.

The bulk of the Ottoman army joined the strike force, and moved on.

Suleyman knew that the best place for the Hungarians to make a stand was the mouth of

the River Drava below the town of Osijek, and

so he diverted his army towards it.

The town of Ilok fell on August 8th with little resistance.

When Suleyman and his army arrived where the Drava

met the Danube, he expected to come face to face with a huge Hungarian host, but instead

was surprised to find that no enemy was there.

King Louis II had mustered an army of around 25,000 men in the town of Tolna.

It was made up Hungarians, Croatians and Bohemians, with

a core of men-at-arms and armoured knights.

Much like Suleyman, King Louis knew the importance of the mouth of the river Drava,

and ordered his deputy, Stefan Bathory to lead a vanguard there, and defend it at all


However, the nobles refused to submit to Bathorys command, declaring they would follow

only the King himself.

The vanguard plan was abandoned, and the Hungarian King instead

led his quarreling army to a field just outside a little riverside hamlet known as Mohacs,

where they awaited their enemy.

On August 26th, the Ottoman host reached Mohacs, and the two armies came face to face.

The Hungarians had set up a camp between the river Borza and Mohacs proper.

They stood in two lines, the first line being made

up of 10,000 infantrymen divided into two wings, supplemented by divisions of mounted


King Louis himself led the second line, surrounded by 1,000 of his personal

armoured cavalry, and the troops of his


Meanwhile, the Ottomans had managed to advance themselves into a position

well protected by woods and ridges, and set up an encampment there.

Suleyman ordered his troops in a tiered defense, made up of three lines.

The first two lines were made up of 30,000 Rumelian and Anatolian

cavalry, supplemented by 4000 Janissaries and 150 cannons.

They were led by Ibrahim Pasha.

The third line was led by Sultan Suleyman himself, and was made up of

15,000 Janissaries and sipahis.

They guarded the bulk of the Ottoman artillery,

which was protected by a circle of wagons.

Lightly armed Akinji horsemen occupied the left flank, close to the Hungarian line, and

a rearguard of heavy cavalry and footmen remained

back in the encampment in reserve.

On August the 29th, fighting began.

The Hungarians were the first to strike, and commenced their assault at 3:00 in the afternoon,

knowing the Muslims in Suleymans army would be occupied with their afternoon


A crescendo of Hungarian artillery fired across the battlefield.

The right wing of the Hungarian first line charged the


The Rumelian cavalry were not prepared for the assault, and the heavily

armoured Hungarian footmen broke through the first two lines of the Ottoman defense,

and fought their way towards the Ottomans third line.

Inspired by this initial success, the second line of Hungarian mounted knights charged

into battle, joining the fierce melee at the fringes

and encircling the Rumelian cavalry from the outside, pushing them back towards their camp.

Meanwhile, the Hungarian left wing stabbed at the center of the disordered Ottoman

first line.

The Hungarians fought bravely, breaking through to the Sultans position,

who was now in danger of being cut down.

However, this success was unsustainable.

As the Hungarians came within range of the Ottoman wagon fortress, a volley of guns and

artillery inflicted heavy damage upon the first line.

Soon after, the Janissaries formed ranks around their Sultan, and charged the

Hungarian knights, overwhelming them with superior numbers and martial discipline.

The tide had begun to turn, after two hours of

fighting, the Ottoman reserves back at camp had

finally rallied onto the battlefield and joined the Ottoman lines.

Meanwhile, the Rumelian cavalry began to regroup.

With Vizier Ibrahim at the head, the Ottomans launched a fierce counterattack, pushing

the Knights in the second line back towards their camp.

From here, the Ottoman army advanced on both flanks to finish off the remaining foes.

The Rumelian cavalry encircled the knights from behind, while the Janissaries and

reserves overwhelmed what remained of the footmen.

The Hungarians were utterly swarmed by overwhelming Ottoman numbers, surrounded

in seperate little pockets, and massacred.

The battle had ended in a great victory for Suleyman, and a complete disaster

for the Hungarians.

When the battle seemed lost, King Louis had attempted to flee.

In the chaos, his horse had thrown him into the flooded Csele brook, and

his heavy armour had dragged him to a watery grave.

The Battle at Mohacs was an abject disaster for the Hungarian Kingdom,

whose government was now effectively annihilated.

While sources vary, it is generally accepted that anywhere from 14,000 to 20,000

Hungarian soldiers were slaughtered in the initial battle, with thousands being taken

prisoner and beheaded the next day.

The Ottomans only lost between 1000 to 2000 men.

Suleyman could not believe hed destroyed the entire Hungarian army so quickly; he had

expected more out of a Kingdom that was once a formidable and powerful foe.

He kept his forces stationed at Mohacs for a few days

after the battle, expecting more enemy forces to arrive.

When none came, he advanced to the city of Buda, taking it with almost no resistance.

While Suleyman ordered the city to be spared, sources

claim that his army looted and burned it anyways.

The victorious Ottoman army then withdrew back to Constantinople, carrying with

them the spoils of war.

After the battle, the mortified Hungarian nobles were so divided and panicked, they

elected two new Kings simultaneously.

One was Ferdinand I of Austria- brother of the Holy Roman Emperor

Charles V, the other was John Zapolya.

With the support of the Habsburgs, Ferdinand took advantage of the ensuing power vacuum

and seized Hungarian territory in Bohemia, and

the northwestern part of Hungary proper.

Meanwhile, Zapolya endeared himself to Suleyman, agreeing to vassalize under the Ottomans,

who became the suzerains of his realm in Transylvania.

The Battle of Mohacs marked the end of Hungarian independence, with all of its former territory

now under Habsburg or Turkish dominion.

For Suleyman, the victory had not created a

springboard for the invasion of Europe as he had hoped, but instead formed a borderland

between the Ottomans and the Holy Roman Empire that set the stage for centuries of Habsburg

- Ottoman warfare.

But perhaps the most significant legacy of this defining engagement is the

effect it has on the national conscience of the Hungarian people, who to this day when

faced with bad fortune, utter the words: “More was

lost at Mohacs.”

We have recorded a podcast on the early structure and administration of the Ottoman empire as

an addendum to this video and you can listen to it via the link in the description or the

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The Description of Battle of Mohacs 1526 - Ottoman Wars DOCUMENTARY