Battle of Kosovo, 1389

Click here to view animation.

(Ensure you hit F5 or View Show)
Animation not displaying properly?

Lazar Hrebeljanovic versus Murad I: A smaller but bolder Serbian army under Lazar strikes an Ottoman army under Murad across a stake-implanted ditch. Can Murad rally his young army and win the day or will Lazar’s heavy infantry slash it to pieces? Also known as the Battle of Kossovo, Kosovo Polje and Kosovo Field.

kosovo preview 1
Significance
.
It is difficult to determine which faction actually won this battle; both sides claimed victory and subsequent events only further muddled the consequences of the actual battle. If anything, both sides lost. Both commanders were killed, both sides suffered grievous casualties and neither side fought well enough to be confident of victory in the next battle. However, the Ottomans held the field – important at this time – and the Ottoman empire and army would only become greater after this battle while the Serbian army would be forced to fight under the Ottoman banner.
 .
Analysis
.
This battle was fought rather unimaginatively by each commander, although Lazar used shock tactics Serbian armies were accustomed to, namely a great cavalry charge backed by heavy infantry. Murad meanwhile did not exactly use nomadic tactics Ottoman armies were accustomed to, namely luring the enemy into a rash attack and then ambushing them when they broke formation. Uyar & Erickson attribute this and the infancy of the units involved as the reasons for the Ottomans’ poor performance (2009: 26). Murad did however allow the Serbians to attack into the teeth of their defensive position, weakening the momentum of their charge, eventually winning through attrition.
kosovo preview 2
Notes
.

I had originally planned on animating the second Battle of Kosovo which took place in 1448 but was overcome by the vast literature on the first battle and its celebrated stature in Serbian history. It is always a welcome challenge to animate a nationalism-charged day of battlefield and be able to confidently show others how my research interprets the battle.

Casualties were impossible to precisely state as usual. Primary sources list casualty figures greater than the strength of the armies present and Sedlar vaguely describes bother armies being “largely annihilated” (1994: 244). It is hard to believe any medieval army could lost more than 50% of its force unless pursued by the enemy, enveloped or fighting a desperate rearguard action which provides at least a limit. Based on how the battle was decided primarily based on attrition, I reckon the Florentine chronicler Mezieres’ conviction that each side suffered equal casualties even if his raw figures are impossibly high (Heath, 1984: 88).

 – Jonathan Webb
 .
Works Consulted
 .
Emmert, Thomas A. “The Battle of Kosovo: Early Reports of Victory and Defeat.” In Kosovo: Legacy of a Medieval Battle. Minneapolis, University of Minnesota, 1991.
.
Heath, Ian. Armies of the Middle Ages Vol. 2: The Ottoman Empire, Eastern Europe and the Near East, 1300-1500. Sussex: Flexprint, 1984.
.
Nicolle, David. Armies of the Ottoman Turks 1300-1774. London: Osprey, 1983.
.
Pappas, Nicholas C.J. and Lee Brigance Pappas. “The Ottoman View of the Battle of Kosovo.” In Kosovo: Legacy of a Medieval Battle. Minneapolis, University of Minnesota, 1991.
.
Sedlar, Jean W. East Central Europe in the Middle Ages, 1000-1500. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1994.
.
Uyar, Mesut and Edward J. Erickson. A Military History of the Ottomans: From Osman to Ataturk. Santa Barbara: Praeger Security International, 2009.
.
Images
.
Bayezid I: http://lexicorient.com/e.o/s04-bayezid1.htm
 .
Lazar Hrebeljanovic: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lazar_of_Serbia
.
Map of the Balkans: http://www.bc.edu/bc_org/avp/cas/his/CoreArt/maps/balkans1385.html
.
Map of the world: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_map_projections
.
Murad I: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murad_I
.
Ottoman soldiers: http://chinahistoryforum.com/lofiversion/index.php/t18570.html
.
Serbian soldiers: http://www.twcenter.net/forums/showthread.php?t=348592&page=5
 .
 .

If you enjoyed the Battle of Kosovo 1389 battle animation, you may also enjoy these other battle animations:

Battle of Ankara 1402, another battle involving the Ottomans and Serbians in the Medieval Era:

ankara preview 1

Battle of Torvioll 1444, another battle featuring the Ottomans:

torvioll preview 1

Battle of Nagashino 1575, another battle featuring a cavalry attack against a prepared defensive position:

nagashino preview 1Thank you for visiting The Art of Battle: Animated Battle Maps.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Readers Comments (4)

  1. I really love our site and your work is very simple and easy to understand.
    But please, in the battle of Kosovo, it was a Balkan coalition, this will be excellent if you notice.
    Thanks, I really enjoy looking all animations

  2. ilir , nemoj da lazes narod , niste ni postojali tada.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.


*