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Siege of Belgrade (July 4-22, 1456)

Siege of Belgrade (July 4-22, 1456)

A major battle in the history of Ottoman-Hungarian wars in the 15th century. Its memory is preserved by the noon bells that are still rung every day in churches throughout the world.



Nándorfehérvár, Siege of Belgrade, Hunyadi, Mehmed II, battle, victory, Szilágyi Mihály, Capistrano, Turco-Hungarian, noon bell, castle, castle siege, sound of bells, Turkish, crusader, army, camp, Danube, Sava, siege, Middle Ages, history

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Stage 1 (July 4-14, 1456)

The Ottomans started the siege of the castle with cannon fire, on July 4, 1456. They formed a naval blockade of the Danube (above the town of Zimony, or Zemun, near Belgrade). The Christian fleet attempted to break the blockade on July 14. The Hungarian army led by János Hunyadi and John of Capistrano moved parallel to the Christian fleet along the river. A static battle ensued, but new ships sent by Mihály Szilágyi, captain of the Belgrade fortress, helped the Christians to break the blockade. Hunyadi succeeded in entering the castle, while John of Capistrano set up camp by the Sava river, opposite the Ottoman camp.

Stage 2 (July 21-22, 1456)

Sultan Mehmed II ordered the decisive attack on July 21. Hunyadi ordered 4,000 more Crusaders for the defense of the castle, thus increasing the number of defenders to about 20 thousand. The Ottoman army consisted of 40-50 thousand soldiers. The defenders soon gave up protecting the city and retreated to the fortress. A desperate battle followed, which ended with a Hungarian victory. By the morning of July 22, all the Ottomans were expelled from the city.

Stage 3 (July 22, 1456)

The sultan ordered the Ottoman army to cease hostilities. Although Hunyadi and John of Capistrano forbade it, the Hungarian defenders and some of the crusaders attacked the Ottomans, forcing Mehmed II to launch a counter-attack. However, he left his artillery without protection. Hunyadi broke out of the castle with the heavy cavalry and took the opportunity to capture the Ottoman cannons. The Ottomans´sipahi cavalry were thus caught between a rock and a hard place. The crusaders captured the Ottoman camp. Protecting the Sultan, the Ottomans fled in panic, leaving their equipment behind.

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