Battle of Zenta

Battle of Zenta

Infobox Military Conflict
conflict = Battle of Zenta (Battle of Senta)

caption = Map from 17th century.
partof = Great Turkish War and Ottoman-Habsburg wars
date = 11 September 1697
place = Senta (Zenta), Serbia
result = Decisive Austrian victory
combatant1 = Holy League:
combatant2= resistance
commander1 = Prince Eugene of Savoy
commander2 = Sultan Mustafa II
strength1 = 34,000 infantry, 16,000 cavalry, 60 guns
strength2 = 80,000+ men
casualties1 = 500 men
casualties2 = 30,000+ men|
The Battle of Zenta or Battle of Senta, fought on 11 September 1697 just south of the modern Serbian town of Senta (Serbian Cyrillic: Сента, German and Hungarian: "Zenta"), on the east side of the Tisa (Tisza) river, was a major engagement in the Great Turkish War (1683–1699) and one of the most decisive defeats in Ottoman history.


After the relief of the Habsburg capital in the Battle of Vienna of 1683, Austria enjoyed great success and by 1688 Belgrade and most of the Pannonian Plain was occupied by Habsburgs. But as the war with the French demanded more troops, and the new grand vizier reorganized and reinvigorated the Ottoman Army, the success ended. Belgrade was recaptured by the Ottomans in 1690 and the following year’s campaign was relatively indecisive.

The Austrians would be led by Eugene of Savoy in his first independent command; it was to be the first of a series of spectacular campaigns for the Prince.


Opening Maneuvres

Prince Eugene was made commander in chief of the Army in the Kingdom of Hungary on 5 July 1697. His army consisted out of 70,000 men at full strength of which only 35,000 were battle ready. As the war chest was empty, Eugene had to borrow money in order to pay wages and to create a working medical service.

When news arrived that the Sultan and his army were in Belgrade, Eugene decided to concentrate all his available troops from Upper Hungary and Transylvania and started to move his troops towards Petrovaradin. After the concentration took place, Eugene had an Imperial Army of 50,000 to 55,000 men to face the Ottomans. During August, Eugene offered battle in the neighborhood of the fortress of Petrovaradin but the Ottomans, attempting to start a siege, refused to engage in battle. In September the Ottomans moved north in an attempt to capture the fortress of Szeged and the Imperial army followed.

The Battle

After the capture of Dschaafer Pasha by the imperial cavalry, the plan for the siege of Szeged was abandoned and the Sultan decided to return to winter quarters near Timişoara. When Eugene learned of these movements, he decided to force a battle.

On 11 September 1697, the Ottoman army was trying to ford the river Tisa (Tisza) near Senta, not knowing that the Imperial Army was nearby. The Imperial army thus was able to effect a complete battlefield surprise and to attack the enemy while he was still in the process of crossing the river. After an intensive artillery bombardment, many Imperial Dragoon regiments dismounted and proceeded to the moat encircling the Ottoman camp, exchanging fire with the enemy. Ottoman troops behind the entrenchments retreated in confusion to the bridge, access to which became overcrowded. Austrian artillery targeted the Ottoman troops and slaughtered them. The left flank of the Imperial army attacked, penetrating between the Ottoman left flank and the bridge, cutting off their retreat. At the same time, Imperial forces attacked from the front and, after ferocious close-quarter fighting, broke through the trenches surrounding the Ottoman camp. Inside the camp, beyond the camp-wagons, the slaughter was terrible. Imperial soldiers pressed the attack relentlessly. Barely a thousand Ottoman soldiers escaped. More than 10,000 Ottoman troops drowned in the Tisa river. Up to 20,000 Ottoman soldiers were slaughtered on the battlefield.


The battle was an amazing victory for Austria; at the cost of 500 men they had inflicted the loss of 30,000 men and captured the sultan's harem, 87 cannon, the royal treasure chest and the state seal of the Ottoman Empire. The main Ottoman army was scattered and the Austrians gained complete freedom of action in Bosnia, where Sarajevo was burnt.

By the terms of the Treaty of Karlowitz in 1699, the Austrians forced the sultan Mustafa II to make peace with the Emperor, and to cede Transylvania and the Ottoman eyalets of Buda, Eger and Kanizsa, which were later transformed or integrated into Habsburg provinces known as the Principality of Transylvania, Kingdom of Hungary, Kingdom of Slavonia, and the Military Frontier.

ee also

*Prince Eugene of Savoy
*Ottoman wars in Europe


* 1) Dodge, Theodore Ayrault. "Gustavus Adolphus - A History of the Art of War from its Revival After the Middle Ages to the End of the Spanish Succession War, with a Detailed Account of the Campaigns of the Great Swede, and of the Most Famous Campaigns of Turenne, Conde, Eugene and Marlborough." London: Grenhill Books, 1996. ISBN 1-85367-234-3
* 2) Vít Vlnas: Princ Evžen Savojský. Život a sláva barokního válečníka, Ladislav Horáček - Paseka a Národní galerie v Praze 2001, ISBN 80-7185-380-1, str. 112-115

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