Battle of Molodi

Infobox Military Conflict
conflict=Battle of Molodi
partof=the Russo-Turkish (Crimean) War (1570-74)
date=30 July - 3 August 1572
place=Molodi, 60 km south of Moscow
result=Decisive Russian victory
combatant1=Crimean Khanate
Ottoman Empire
combatant2=Tsardom of Russia
commander1=Khan Devlet I Giray
commander2=Voyevoda Mikhail Vorotynsky
strength1=80,000 Crimean Tatars,
33,000 Turks,
7,000 elite janissaries
strength2= 60,000 - 70,000
casualties1=100,000 - 115,000
Fact|date=March 2007

The Battle of Molodi (Russian: "Молодинская битва") was one of the key battles of Ivan the Terrible's reign. It was fought near the village of Molodi, 60 km south of Moscow, in July-August 1572 between the 120,000-strong horde of Devlet I Giray of Crimea and about 60,000 Russians led by Prince Mikhail Vorotynsky. The Crimean horde was defeated so thoroughly that both the Ottoman Sultan and the Crimean khan, his vassal, had to give up their ambitious plans of northward expansion into Russia forever.

While Tsardom of Russia was involved into the Livonian War, the Crimean khan hoped to make profit from the weakness of its south borders. In the course of three expeditions, Devlet I Giray devastated South Russia and even set Moscow on fire (without capturing it, however). On 26 July 1572 the huge horde of the khan, equipped with cannons and reinforced by Turkish janissaries, crossed the Oka River near Serpukhov, decimated the Russian vanguard of 200 noblemen and advanced towards Moscow in order to pillage it once again. Little did they know, however, that the Russians had prepared for the new invasion, setting up innovative fortifications just beyond the Oka.

The Russian forces, variously estimated at between 60,000-70,000 men, were placed under the supreme command of Prince Mikhail Vorotynsky. Prince Repnin led the left flank, while the right flank was commanded by Prince Odoevsky. On 30 July the armies clashed near the Lopasnya River without so much as a prior reconnaissance. On that day, the murderous fray claimed the lives of just 70 Russians, while thousands of the Tatars were reported to have been slain. The fighting continued for several days, reaching its peak on 8 August. The large amount of close-in fighting made the Tatars' famed skill in archery quite useless: the battle was fought principally with sabers and spears. Artillery was also used by the Russians to great effect. The outcome was decided by Prince Khvorostinin who bypassed the horde with his "gulyay-gorod" (гуляй-город) mobile fortifications and infiltrated into the rear.

After the battle, only 20,000 Tatar horsemen returned to the Crimea, while the khan left his tent and banner on the battle-field and barely managed to escape alive. The battle claimed the lives of his sons and a grandson.

Great as the Russian victory had been, Vorotynsky's popularity with the soldiers and populace fueled suspicions of the cruel tsar, who had him tortured to death the very next year. Following that, the information on the battle was suppressed in Russian chronicles.


*ru icon [ Viktor Gusev: "Mikhail Vorotynsky vs Devlet I Giray"] Dead link|date=July 2008

External links

*ru icon [ Reenactment of the Battle of Molodi]
*ru icon
*ru icon
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*en icon

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