Siege of Ottoman-held Osijek

723120.a

A medium-high oblique view of Osijek bridge, built in 1526 on the orders of Suleiman the Great, spanning the River Draba and surrounding marshes between Osijeck and the Fortress of Dada to the north. This very considerable feat of engineering earned the Turks a freedom of manoeuvre which was denied to

the Austrians. Oriented with north-north-east to top. Habsburg-Ottoman Wars (Fourth Austro-Turkish War) (1663-4).

The bridge was 7 km (4.3 miles) long and 6 metres 20 ft wide. Its strategic importance lay in the easy access it gave Ottoman troops into western Europe, notably towards Vienna. The event shown in this print was the partially successful attempt to destroy the bridge by burning by the Ban [viceregal governor under the Habsburgs] of Croatia from 1647-1664, Nicholas VII of Zrin (Miklós Zrínyi; Croatian: Nikola Zrinski, 1620-64) – the ‘Conte Nicolo di Sd’rin’ in the text of this print. The objective of this assault, made on 1 February early in the 1664 campaign season, was to impede Ottoman access to Vienna.

The bridge was destroyed by the Austrian army some twenty-two years later in 1686: see RCIN 724135.

After seven years of war and the failed Siege of Vienna in 1529, the Treaty of Konstantiniyye was signed, in which John Zápolya was recognized by the Austrians as King of Hungary as an Ottoman vassal, and the Ottomans recognized Habsburg rule over Royal Hungary.

This treaty satisfied neither John Zápolya nor Austrian Archduke Ferdinand, whose armies began to skirmish along the borders. Ferdinand decided to strike a decisive blow in 1537 at John, thereby violating the treaty.

Despite the second failed attempt at capturing Vienna, the Ottoman’s and Austrians signed a peace treaty, which recognised the Kingdom of Hungary as an Ottoman vassal, as long as the Ottoman’s respected the regions of Hungary that had recognised Habsburg rule.

This peace deal did not end the war between the two rivals. The war would turn bloody again at the Siege of Osijek (1537), where Ferdinand and his massive Austrian army, which was well trained and equipped thanks to the success of his defending force at Koszeg, planned a massive blow to the Ottoman strong hold of Osijek. This attack would directly violate the treaty.

Ferdinand sent an army of 24,000 men (from Austria, Hungary, Holy Roman Empire, Bohemia, Tyrol, and Croatia) under the command of the Carniolan nobleman Johann Katzianer to take Osijek.

The siege came to nothing and because of the appearance of the Ottoman cavalry sent by the governor of Belgrade, the army had to withdraw. The Ottoman army reached the Austrians near the swamps of Gorjani, near Đakovo and Valpovo on the Drava river. The imperials were severely defeated and Katzianer fled with the cavalry and abandoned his army. The entire force was annihilated. At the Battle of Dakovo, the Austrian attempt would be futile, and faced a crushing defeat, leaving more than 25,000 Austrians dead or wounded and minimal loses to the Ottoman defensive force. Less than a year later at the Battle of Preveza, in 1538, the Ottoman army would again crush the Habsburg led coalition.

A reported 20,000 men were killed, including generals Ludwig Lodron and Pavle Bakić. Bakić’s severed head was taken to Constantinople.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.