Friday, August 15, 2014

Austro-Turkish War (1683–1699)

Austro-Turkish War (1683–1699)

PRINCIPAL COMBATANTS: Austria (with a Holy League
consisting of the Holy Roman Empire, Venice, Poland,
and, after 1686, Moscow) vs. Ottoman Empire

PRINCIPAL THEATER(S): Hungary and the Balkans

DECLARATION: None recorded

MAJOR ISSUES AND OBJECTIVES: Primarily, the possession
of Hungary

OUTCOME: The Ottomans, badly defeated, were driven
out of Hungary.

Holy League, 142,343; Ottoman Empire, 200,000

CASUALTIES: Holy League, 49,200 killed or wounded;
Ottoman Empire, 156,000 killed or wounded

TREATIES: The Treaty of Karlowitz, January 26, 1699

On March 3, 1683, an Ottoman army of 200,000, allied
with a Transylvanian force, invaded Hungary from Adrianople.
Austria and Poland united to defend against the
invaders, 150,000 of whom commenced a siege of Vienna
on July 17, 1683 (see VIENNA, SIEGE OF). Vienna’s garrison
consisted of about 11,000 regular troops and 6,000 volunteers.
However, the defenders possessed superb artillery,
which held off the Ottomans until September 12, 1683,
when an Austro-Polish force of more than 60,000 arrived.
By this point the Viennese garrison had lost 5,000 regulars
and 1,700 volunteers, although the Ottomans had suffered
losses amounting to some 40,000 killed or wounded, so
that when the Austro-Polish force attacked from the
heights of Kahlenberg, they faced a reduced Ottoman-
Transylvanian force of about 138,000. Immediately seizing
the initiative, the Austro-Polish army made a devastating
attack that cost the Ottomans 15,000 killed and as many as
25,000 wounded. The Austro-Polish relief force lost 1,800
killed and 3,200 wounded.
As the Ottoman force retreated the Austro-Polish
army pursued. The Ottoman column crossed the Danube
on a boat bridge, which collapsed, adding another 7,000
fatalities to the Ottoman toll.
The victory at the Siege of Vienna brought an end to
the Ottoman threat against Europe. However, the war continued,
albeit with many lulls. In 1684 Charles of Lorraine
(1604–75) attempted to take Buda, which the Ottomans
had held for 145 years. Charles failed, and half of his
34,000-man army perished. A second siege resulted in victory,
however, on September 2, 1686, although Austrian
losses in this campaign amounted to some 20,000 killed or
On August 12, 1687, Charles defeated the Ottomans
at the Battle of Harkány, inflicting some 20,000 casualties.
This victory liberated Croatia from the Ottoman Empire.
In 1687 Sultan Mohammed IV (1648–87) was overthrown,
and the new sultan, Süleyman II, renewed the
struggle against the Austrians and their allies. Holy League
forces were defeated at Zernyest, Transylvania, in August
1690, allowing the Ottomans to capture most of Serbia
by October. Belgrade fell to the Turks on October 8. In
response Louis of Baden (1655–1707) led Holy League
forces in a counteroffensive and defeated a combined Ottoman-
Transylvanian force at the Battle of Szalánkemén on
August 19, 1691, inflicting some 20,000 casualties on the
80,000-man army. With this Transylvania became a Hapsburg
The war continued in desultory fashion until Sultan
Mustafa II (r. 1695–1703) invaded Hungary with 50,000
troops in 1697. At the Battle of Zenta on September 11
Mustafa’s force was met by 31,343 Holy League troops
under Eugene of Savoy (1663–1736). Eugene attacked
when the Ottoman army was divided on either side of the
River Theiss and was in the process of crossing a bridge.
Eugene destroyed the bridge, then drove the invaders into
the river, killing perhaps as many as 29,000 while suffering
no more than 50 casualties himself, killed and wounded.
Zenta was one of the worst defeats suffered by the
Ottoman Empire, and it prompted the Treaty of Karlowitz,
concluded on January 26, 1699. Austria received most of
Hungary and Transylvania, and the Hapsburgs thereby
supplanted the Ottomans as the major power in southeastern

WAR (1551–1553); AUSTRO-TURKISH WAR (1591–1606);
WAR (1716–1718).

Further reading: Rhoads Murphey, Ottoman Warfare:
1500–1700 (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University
Press, 1999); V. J. Parry and M. J. Kitch, Hapsburg
and Ottoman Empires (London: Sussex Publications,

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