|Siege of Belgrade|
|Part of the Austro-Turkish War (1788–1791)|
Siege of Belgrade in 1789
|Habsburg monarchy||Ottoman Empire|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Ernst von Laudon|| Osman Pasha|
|120,900, 200 siege guns||9,000, 456 guns|
|Casualties and losses|
In the siege of Belgrade (15 September – 8 October 1789) a Habsburg Austrian army led by Feldmarschall Ernst Gideon von Laudon besieged an Ottoman Turkish force under Osman Pasha in the fortress of Belgrade. After a three-week leaguer, the Austrians forced the surrender of the fortress. During the campaign which was part of the Austro-Turkish War, the Austrian army was greatly hampered by illness. Austria held the city until 1791 when it handed Belgrade back to the Ottomans according to the terms of the peace treaty. Several Austrian soldiers who distinguished themselves during the siege later held important commands in the subsequent French Revolutionary Wars and Napoleonic Wars. Belgrade is the capital of modern Serbia.
At the urging of Russian Empress Catherine the Great, Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor committed the Habsburg monarchy to a war against Ottoman Turkey. In 1788, the Austrians captured one fortress and seized some territory but most of their efforts were thwarted. In August 1788, Joseph appointed Laudon commander in Croatia where that general enjoyed some successes. After the commander of the main army became ill, Joseph replaced him with Laudon at the end of July 1789 and ordered his new commander to capture Belgrade. In mid-September, Laudon's army crossed the Sava River and laid siege to Belgrade with 120,000 soldiers and over 200 cannons. At the end of the month the Austrians cleared the Ottomans from the suburbs. In the face of a destructive bombardment, Osman Pasha negotiated the surrender of the city on 7 October in exchange for allowing the garrison free passage to a Turkish fortress.
Emperor Joseph II traveled to the Russian Empire where he met Catherine the Great at Kherson on 14 May 1787. As the two sovereigns toured the Crimea, Catherine talked Joseph into joining her in a war against the Ottoman Empire.Russia provoked the war with the Ottomans in 1787 by insisting that Turkey recognize a Russian protectorate over Georgia. For their part, the Ottomans instigated a revolt among the Tatars in the Crimea. When war broke out, Austrian was bound to support Russia by a secret treaty.
In 1788, Emperor Joseph personally led the main Austrian army, advised by Feldmarschall Franz Moritz von Lacy, in a campaign in the valley of the Sava River. One independent corps led by Prince Karl Borromäus of Liechtenstein operated in Croatia, a second corps under Wilhelm von Wartensleben in the Banat, and a third corps under Fabris in Transylvania. A fourth corps commanded by Prince Josias of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld joined the Russian army in Moldavia. That year the emperor's army captured Šabac (Schabatz) while Saxe-Coburg and Russian General Alexander Suvorov overran Moldavia. However, Liechtenstein was defeated by the Turks at Dubica and the other two Austrian corps were also unsuccessful. Joseph summoned Field Marshal Laudon out of retirement and appointed him to lead the corps in Croatia. By the time Laudon reached his command on 18 August 1788, his lieutenants Joseph Nikolaus De Vins and Joseph Anton Brentano had overrun the Turkish entrenched camp near Dubica on the Una River.
On 20 August 1788, Laudon's corps repulsed an attack by the Pasha of Travnik, inflicting 700 casualties on the Ottomans. The garrison of Dubica surrendered to the Austrians on 26 August. With the help of a flanking column under Joseph Anton Franz von Mittrowsky, the Pasha of Travnik was maneuvered out of his entrenched camp at Donji Jelovac. This allowed Laudon to move against the fortress of Novi Grad on the Una.The siege of Novi Grad began on 10 September. After repulsing a Turkish relief column on 20 September, Laudon ordered an assault the next day. This failed with 80 killed and 210 wounded, but a second assault on 3 October captured Novi Grad. The Austrians suffered losses of 220 killed and 353 wounded while total Turkish casualties during the siege were 400.
After the armies went into winter quarters, Emperor Joseph fell ill and transferred command of the main army to Marshal András Hadik. On 14 May 1789, Laudon returned to command the corps in Croatia which numbered 34,500 infantry and 3,000 cavalry. Colonel Andreas von Neu was Laudon's chief of staff. On 23 June, Laudon began operations against the fortress of Gradiška on the Sava with 15,900 infantry and gunners and 300 cavalry.The Austrians crossed the Sava above and below Gradiška and began building trenches that approached the fortress. Before the place was completely invested, the Turkish garrison slipped away on the night of 8 July. The Turks left behind a single man who was supposed to blow up the powder magazine, but this individual did not carry out the plan. Austrian losses for the siege were 38 killed and 120 wounded.
In Moldavia, the Austro-Russian army under Suvorov and Saxe-Coburg soundly defeated the Turks at the Battle of Focșani on 1 August 1789.Charles-Joseph, 7th Prince of Ligne arrived in May to assume command of Semlin (Zemun), which is now part of Belgrade but was a separate town in 1789. Ligne noted that there was a truce in force at the time and that of his corps of 30,000 soldiers, only 15,000 were fit for duty because of sickness. Ligne complained in a letter that the truce allowed the Ottomans to bring food supplies into Belgrade. Marshal Hadik with the main army became seriously ill and had to be relieved of command. Emperor Joseph appointed Laudon to replace Hadik on 28 July. At this time the emperor wrote to Loudon, "Cost what it may. I want you to take Belgrade". Loudon arrived at Semlin on 14 August, met with the outgoing commander Hadik on the 16th, and conferred with the temporary commander François Sébastien Charles Joseph de Croix, Count of Clerfayt at Mehadia soon afterward. On 28 August the Ottomans attacked Mehadia but were driven off by Clerfayt.
On 30 August 1789, Laudon gave orders for his army to concentrate at Novi Banovci, northwest of Belgrade and Semlin. His plan was cross the Sava on 13 September,but the timetable was accelerated when intelligence indicated that Abdy Pasha and 30,000 Ottomans were approaching. On 9 September, the Austrian advanced guard reached Banovci and the following day it crossed the Sava at Boljevci and established itself on high ground near Ostružnica. By 15 September, the bulk of the army was south of the Sava. The Austrian army consisted on 120,900 soldiers, though 33,000 men were not fit for duty because of sickness. The army included 10 battalions of grenadiers, 33 battalions of fusiliers, one battalion of sharpshooters, and 30½ divisions of cavalry. (In this sense, a division is equal to two squadrons of horsemen. So 30½ divisions would be 61 squadrons. In this era, a squadron had about 135 horsemen at full strength.) The siege train included cannons of various calibers: 120 24-pounders, eight 18-pounders, 50 12-pounders, and 30 6-pounders. In addition, Ligne had four 100-pound mortars in Semlin.
Loudon divided the army into three parts. Clerfayt led a covering force designed to block any Ottoman relief attempts. Joseph Kinsky von Wchinitz und Tettau commanded the main siege on the east bank of the Sava while Prince of Ligne commanded on the west bank of the Sava at Semlin. Also with the army were future army commanders József Alvinczi, Johann von Hiller, Michael von Melas and Karl Mack von Leiberich, the last being a promising staff officer.Francis, later to be emperor, was also with the army. In 1789, Belgrade was located on the east bank of the Sava at its confluence with the Danube. The city consisted of a hilltop castle (Kalemegdan Fortress), the town, and the suburbs. The water suburb was to the north, the Palanka suburb was south of the castle hill, and the Raitzen suburb, also to the south. To defend the city, Osman Pasha commanded a garrison of 9,000 Turks armed with 456 cannons. The Ottomans had a flotilla of 20 one-masted vessels to guard the Danube against a larger fleet of Austrian vessels.
Laudon directed the army to take up the same positions that were occupied during the 1717 siege of Belgrade by the army of Prince Eugene of Savoy. The Austrians dug trenches and excavated battery positions. The bombardment of Belgrade's defenses began on 16 September. A heavy rain fell from 22 to27 September which disrupted the siege operations. When the rain stopped, Loudon set 30 September as the date for storming the suburbs. At 5:00 am on that day, the Austrian fleet began bombarding the outer defenses. An hour later, the land batteries joined in the barrage. About 9:00 am four Austrian storming columns advanced on the suburbs and forced their way through the palisades. For four hours, the Turks fought stubbornly in a house to house struggle. Finally, they retreated within Belgrade's main defenses after suffering 800 casualties and losing 12 guns. The Austrians lost 110 killed and 357 wounded.
News that Suvorov and Saxe-Coburg won the Battle of Rymnik on 22 September 1789 discouraged the garrison. Harassed by Austrian freikorps, Abdy Pasha's relief army halted without coming to grips with Clerfayt's covering force.Orthodox Bishop Dionisios Papagiannousis provided moral and spiritual support to the besiegers. The Austrians soon dug themselves trenches to protect their gains and their sappers dug a siege parallel close to Belgrade's covered way. The Ottomans launched four sorties in an attempt to delay the besiegers. For the next few days, Laudon emplaced his artillery batteries closer to the city. On the west bank of the Sava, the Prince of Ligne set up a battery at a position called the Sauspitz from which his artillery directed an effective fire against the Ottoman defenses. Recovering from a severe bout of fever and dosing himself with quinine, Ligne had to be half-carried by two junior officers in his inspections of the trenches. He later boasted that his guns fired 5,662 round shot and 6,083 bomb shells during the siege. Two other high-ranking generals involved in the siege were Joseph Maria von Colloredo, an artillerist, and Karl Clemens von Pellegrini, an engineer.
On the morning of 6 October 1789, the Austrian batteries began a very intense bombardment, under which Belgrade's defenses rapidly crumbled. At 1:00 pm that day Osman Pasha demanded a 15-day suspension of military activity. Laudon replied, "Not 15 hours," and the bombardment continued until 9:00 am on 7 October. At that time the Ottoman commander requested a 6-hour suspension, which Loudon granted.After several hours of silence, Osman Pasha and two of his officers emerged from the main gate and requested a parley. They were quickly ushered to Laudon's headquarters where the capitulation was signed. In exchange for the surrender of Belgrade on 8 October, the Ottoman garrison was given a free passage with their personal and private possessions to Orșova. A prisoner exchange was also arranged between the combatants.
Loudon marched the army to Smederevo, which was captured. Then the Austrian army blockaded Orșova, which finally surrendered in April 1790. Other Austrian forces were also successful. Saxe-Coburg occupied Bucharest, Friedrich Wilhelm, Fürst zu Hohenlohe-Kirchberg seized northern Wallachia, Anton Lipthay de Kisfalud overran the Timok valley, and Stephan Mihaljevich took Niš. The citizens of Vienna were elated by the victory. Emperor Joseph named Laudon the generalissimo of the Austrian armies.Ligne received the commander's cross to the Military Order of Maria Theresa eight days after the capture of Belgrade. However, the emperor soon snubbed Ligne, mistakenly believing that he was involved in the Brabant Revolution. Ligne never again held a military command. Austria soon became preoccupied by threats from the Kingdom of Prussia, by a loss of interest in the war by Russia, by the Brabant Revolution in the Austrian Netherlands, and by troubles throughout the empire.
Jealous of Austria's success, Prussia made diplomatic contacts with the Ottomans, suggesting an offensive alliance. Alarmed at Prussia's actions, Emperor Joseph withdrew troops from the Balkans and transferred them to Bohemia. At the end of the year, the emperor named Loudon to command the 150,000-man army forming in Bohemia to guard against Prussia. Joseph died on 28 February 1790 and was succeeded by his brother Leopold II, Holy Roman Emperor.Loudon took ill and died on 14 July 1790, after handing command of the Bohemian army to Colloredo. A truce between Austria and Turkey was arranged on 27 July 1790. This event was followed by the Treaty of Sistova on 4 August 1791. Austria restored Belgrade and other captured territories to the Ottomans in return for a strip of land in northern Bosnia. The Ottomans came to terms with the Russians by the Treaty of Jassy on 9 January 1792. By agreement, the Russians kept all captured lands east of the Dniester River.
A number of Austrian officers who performed noteworthy service at Belgrade rose to high command during the wars with the French First Republic and the First French Empire in the period from 1792 to 1815. Eugène-Guillaume Argenteau was Oberst (colonel) of the Laudon Infantry Regiment Nr. 29 during the siege.For his engineering work, Franz von Lauer earned promotion to general officer. Oberst Andreas O'Reilly von Ballinlough commanded the Modena Chevau-léger Regiment Nr. 13 and Oberst Prince Heinrich XV of Reuss-Plauen led the Wenzel Colloredo Infantry Regiment Nr. 56 during the siege. As a staff officer, Major Johann Heinrich von Schmitt distinguished himself at Belgrade. Count Heinrich von Bellegarde led a portion of the Wurmser Hussars in securing control of the Bexania dam on 8 September 1788.
In 1791, Stephen Storace composed The Siege of Belgrade , a comic opera in three acts to an English libretto by James Cobb.The dramatist Friedrich Kaiser included details related to the siege of Belgrade in his screenplay for a play about the Field Marshal Ernst Laudon and Habsburg–Ottoman War.
The poem The Siege of Belgrade by Alaric Alexander Watts is a notable example of Alliterative verse with these opening lines.
An Austrian army, awfully arrayed,
Boldly by battery besieged Belgrade
Cossack commanders cannonading come,
Just before the start of the war, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart composed the La Bataille K. 535 (also known as “Die Belagerung Belgrads”), which was most likely inspired by previous sieges of the city, while some scholars state that the composition was used to support the war effort.
Charles-Joseph Lamoral, 7th Prince de Ligne in French; in German Karl-Joseph Lamoral 7. Fürst von Ligne : was a Field Marshal, inhaber of an infantry regiment, prolific writer, intellectual, member of the princely family of Ligne. He fought as a field officer during several famous battles during the Seven Years' War and briefly returned to military duty in the War of the Bavarian Succession. He performed an important diplomatic mission to Catherine the Great in 1787 and led troops against the Ottoman Empire at Belgrade in 1789. Beginning in the 1770s, he authored an impressive volume of work. After his estates in the Austrian Netherlands were lost to France during the War of the First Coalition, he lived in Vienna. All three of his sons died before him, but his wife and four daughters all outlived him. His grandson, the 8th Prince, became a Belgian statesman.
François Sébastien Charles Joseph de Croix, Count of Clerfayt, a Walloon, joined the army of the Habsburg monarchy and soon fought in the Seven Years' War. Later in his military career, he led Austrian troops in the war against Ottoman Turkey. During the French Revolutionary Wars he saw extensive fighting and rose to the rank of Field Marshal.
Ernst Gideon von Laudon, since 1759 Freiherr von Laudon, was a Baltic German-born Austrian generalisimo and one of the most successful opponents of the Prussian king Frederick the Great. He served the position of military governorship of Habsburg Serbia from his capture of Belgrade in 1789 until his death while cooperating with the resistance fighters of Koča Anđelković.
Count Heinrich von Bellegarde, Viceroy of Lombardy-Venetia, of a noble Savoyard family, was born in Saxony, joined the Saxon army and later entered Habsburg military service, where he became a general officer serving in the Habsburg border wars, the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars. He became a Generalfeldmarschall and statesman.
The Russo-Turkish War of 1787–1792 involved an unsuccessful attempt by the Ottoman Empire to regain lands lost to the Russian Empire in the course of the previous Russo-Turkish War (1768–1774). It took place concomitantly with the Austro-Turkish War (1788–1791), Russo-Swedish War (1788–1790) and Theatre War.
The Second Battle of Mohács, also known as the Battle of Harsány Mountain, was fought on 12 August 1687 between the forces of Ottoman Sultan Mehmed IV, commanded by the Grand-Vizier Sari Süleyman Paşa, and the forces of Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I, commanded by Charles of Lorraine. The result was a decisive victory for the Austrians.
The Battle of Petrovaradin also known as the Battle of Peterwardein, took place on 5 August 1716 during the Austro-Turkish War when the Ottoman army besieged the Habsburgs-controlled fortress of Petrovaradin on the Military Frontier of the Habsburg monarchy. The Ottomans attempted to capture Petrovaradin, the so-called Gibraltar on the Danube, but experienced a great defeat by an army half the size of their own, similar to the defeat they had experienced in 1697 at Zenta. Ottoman Grand Vizier Damad Ali Pasha was fatally wounded, while the Ottoman army lost 20,000 men and 250 guns to the Habsburg army led by Field Marshal Prince Eugene of Savoy.
The Long Turkish War or Thirteen Years' War was an indecisive land war between the Habsburg monarchy and the Ottoman Empire, primarily over the Principalities of Wallachia, Transylvania, and Moldavia. It was waged from 1593 to 1606 but in Europe it is sometimes called the Fifteen Years War, reckoning from the 1591–92 Turkish campaign that captured Bihać.
Baron Paul Davidovich or Pavle Davidović became a general of the Austrian Empire and a Knight of the Military Order of Maria Theresa. He played a major role in the 1796 Italian campaign during the French Revolutionary Wars, leading corps-sized commands in the fighting against the French army led by Napoleon Bonaparte. He led troops during the Napoleonic Wars and was Proprietor (Inhaber) of an Austrian infantry regiment.
Feldmarschall Johann Karl, Graf von Kolowrat-Krakowsky joined the Austrian army, fought against the Kingdom of Prussia and Ottoman Turkey before being promoted to general officer rank. During combat against the French in the French Revolutionary Wars, he first became known as an artillery specialist. In the Napoleonic Wars, he commanded corps in the 1805 and 1809 campaigns. He became the Proprietor (Inhaber) of an Austrian infantry regiment in 1801 and held that position until his death.
The Battle of Banja Luka took place in Banja Luka, Ottoman Bosnia, on 4 August 1737, during the Austro-Russian-Turkish War. An Austrian army under Prince Joseph Hildberghausen was defeated, as it attempted to besiege the town, when it ran into a large Ottoman relief force led by Bosnian Vizier Hekimoğlu Ali Pasha.
The siege of Belgrade was a successful attempt by Imperial Habsburg troops under the command of the Elector of Bavaria Maximilian II Emanuel to capture the city of Belgrade from the Ottoman Empire. The capture took place on 6 September 1688, after a month of siege, during the Great Turkish War (1683–1699). By conquering Belgrade, the Imperialists gained an important strategic outpost, as the city had been the Ottoman's chief fortress in Europe, for more than a century and a half. The Turks recaptured it two years later only to lose it again to Eugene of Savoy in 1717.
Franz von Lauer entered the Imperial Army as a military engineer in 1755 and ended his career as Feldzeugmeister. After serving in the Seven Years' War, by 1783 he had reached the rank of oberst, or colonel. He fought against Ottoman Turkey at Belgrade and became a general officer for his distinguished effort as a siege specialist.
Friedrich Joseph of Nauendorf, a general in Habsburg service during the French Revolutionary Wars, was noted for his intrepid and daring cavalry raids. Like most Austrian officers of the French Revolutionary Wars, he joined the military as a young man, and served in the War of Bavarian Succession. In the war's opening action, he successfully repelled a Prussian border raid, which earned him the admiration of the Empress Maria Theresa's son, Joseph. His continued success in the Habsburg border wars with the Ottoman Empire added to his reputation as a commander.
Johann Heinrich von Schmitt was an officer in the Army of the Holy Roman Empire. He was arguably one of the most successful chiefs of staff; he rose to the rank of Feldmarshalleutnant during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars.
Franz Freiherr von Werneck, enlisted in the army of Habsburg Austria and fought in the Austro-Turkish War, the French Revolutionary Wars, and the Napoleonic Wars. He enjoyed a distinguished career until 1797, when he lost a battle and was dismissed as punishment. He was only reinstated in 1805. In that year he surrendered his command and was later brought up on charges. He died while awaiting a court-martial.
The siege of Belgrade was a successful attempt by Austrian troops under the command of Prince Eugene of Savoy to capture the strategically important city of Belgrade from the Ottoman Empire. It took place during the Seventh Ottoman–Venetian War (1714–1718), barely a year after the Austrian victory at the Battle of Petrovaradin (Peterwardein). The Austrians routed the Ottoman relief army under Grand Vizier Hacı Halil Pasha on 16 August. As a consequence, the Belgrade garrison, deprived of relief, surrendered to the Austrians on 21 August. The Ottoman Sultan Ahmed III sued for peace, resulting in the Treaty of Passarowitz a year later, which completed the transfer of the remainder of Hungary, the Banat and the city of Belgrade into Austrian hands.
At the Battle of Höchst, the Habsburg Austrian army commanded by François Sébastien Charles Joseph de Croix, Count of Clerfayt outmaneuvered the French Republican Army of Sambre-et-Meuse commanded by Jean-Baptiste Jourdan. Although the French attacked first, they were unable to dislodge an Austrian flanking column. Afterward Jourdan's army retreated to the north. The clash happened during the War of the First Coalition, part of a wider conflict known as the French Revolutionary Wars. Modern-day Höchst is a suburb and administrative district of Frankfurt am Main in the state of Hesse in Germany. Höchst is about 12 kilometers (7 mi) west of the Frankfurt city center.
Martin von Dedovich was a Field Marshal in the Austrian Imperial-Royal Army.
The Relief of Cetingrad was a military conflict between the Croatian Corps of the Habsburg monarchy's army, led by Feldzeugmeister Joseph Nikolaus Baron de Vins, and the Ottoman army, led by Dizdar-Agha Ali-Bey Beširević, dealing with possession of Cetin Castle and its surrounding area, in central Croatia. The conflict was part of a military campaign within the Austro-Turkish War (1788–1791). Habsburg forces besieged the castle from 22 June until 20 July 1790, and, after almost a month, the operation ended victoriously for the Habsburg troops. Cetingrad, an important military base in the Croatian border area that had fallen into the hands of the Ottoman conquerors in the 16th century again became part of the Kingdom of Croatia.