Battle of Batoh 1652

translation (c) Sienkiewicz Society, 2006


Cossack Living History  

  Bitwa pod Batohem (1652) kozak hussar saber

Cossack Hetman  Bohdan Chmielnicki in 1652  marched toward Moldavia in order to form an alliance against the Poles with Hospodar Basil Lupu. Additionally he wanted to marry his son Tymofieja with Rozalin, the daughter of the Hospodar.

BerestAx.jpeg (146172 bytes)Hetman Martin Kalinowski, leader of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth’s Crown army, decided to foil that plan. In May 1652 he concentrated armies, intending to block the road against the march of the Cossacks and accompanying Crimean Tatars. The assembly point was designated as the entrenched camp at Batoh, founded previously near the river Boh. This was a significant error of Polish leadership, since there had been an opportunity to prevent the unification of the enemy force, now lost. The camp was however in good naturally defensive terrain, and appeared good to serve as the base to further actions, but it worked out differently.

It is difficult to estimate the strength of the sides because of the paucity of records. Sometimes Crown banners ordered to move to the camp never arrived. This is tied to the unpopularity of hetman Kalinowski among junior officers.  The total Polish force was about 9-11 Thousand, that of the Cossacks and Tatars three to five times as large.

Poor leadership and the passivity of the Crown army led to the enemy, without hardship, crossing the Boh. The Camp thus became surrounded. Though the camp could have been easily defended for quite some time, rebellion broke out. Kalinowski decided to treat with senior men of the army. In negotiations, the units loyal to the hetman wanted to defend in camp, whereas the rioters wished to flee.  June 1, 1652 was the first day of the battle of Batoh. 

June 2, 1652, during the fighting, the camp was overcome by Berest9.jpeg (139047 bytes)fire after the grass and straw was set ablaze. Many running away were captured by the Tatars. Hetman Kalinowski fell by the side of his son Samuel. The battle at the camp ended as a rout of the Crown army.

After the battle the Tatars, with blessings from the Cossacks, slaughtered the Polish captives. This avenged Chmielnicki’s defeat at Berest (Brest) in June 1651. It was a complete massacre of the Poles- 8000 soldiers, including many of their best.

Future Hetman Stephan Czarniecki narrowly escaped death. He was reportedly hidden in a haystack from which he watched the massacre.

Lost included Samuel Jerzy Kalinowski, Sigmund Przyjemski - general of Crown Artillery and the Chancellor of the Crown, John Odrzywolski-Castellan of Czernihow, Marek Sobieski, Starost of Krasnystaw and the brother of John the future king.

The battle of Batoh had crucial significance because it destroyed the best Crown units, This permitted Chmielnicki to cross to the offensive and tear parts of the Ukraine from the Commonwealth. Defeat of the Poles  created a vulnerability that was to be exploited in wars to come with Muscovy in 1654-5, which in turn resulted in the ‘deluge’ of the country by Swedish armies in 1655.

Battle of Kircholm, 1605

Battle of Yellow Waters, 1648

Battle of Berest, 1651

Battle of Warsaw, 1656

How the Hussars Fought - Tactics

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