Battle of Humenné

Battle of Humenné
Part of the Thirty Years' War
DateNovember 22–23, 1619
Result Polish victory
Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth Principality of Transylvania
Commanders and leaders
Walenty Rogawski George Rákóczi
8,000-10,000[1] 3,500-7,000[2]
Casualties and losses
650-2,500 850-3,000

The Battle of Humenné (Hungarian: Homonnai csata, Polish: bitwa pod Humiennem or pierwsza odsiecz wiedeńska) took place on November 22–23, 1619 near Humenné (eastern Slovakia) during the first period of the Thirty Years' War between the Transylvanian army and the joined loyalist Hungarian and Polish forces of Lisowczycy. It was the only battle of that war to involve the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

The battle was won by the Polish cavalry led by Walenty Rogawski against the Transylvanian corps commanded by George Rákóczi, the future Prince of Transylvania.


A lot of nations of the Holy Roman Empire saw the Thirty Years' War as a perfect opportunity to (re)gain their independencies. One of them was Hungary led by Gábor Bethlen, Prince of Transylvania. He joined Bohemia in the anti-Habsburg Protestant Union. In a short period of time, he conquered northern Hungary and Bratislava, and in November he started a siege of Vienna - the capital city of Austria and the Holy Roman Empire. The situation of Emperor Ferdinand II was dramatic. The emperor sent a letter to Sigismund III of Poland, and asked him to cut the supply lines of Bethlen from Transylvania. He also sent George Drugeth, count of Homonna - former rival of Bethlen, now Lord Chief Justice of Royal Hungary - to Poland, to hire forces for the Habsburgs.

The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth did not want to participate in the war, so it remained neutral. But the king being a strong sympathizer of the Catholic League and the Habsburgs, decided to help the emperor. Though, he didn't want to send forces directly, he allowed Drugeth to hire mercenaries in Poland. Drugeth hired around 8,000 Lisowczycy led by Rogawski, who joined his own 3,000 men. The joined army included aroud 11,000 soldiers, but this number is disputed.[3]


The Lisowczycy faced George Rákóczi's corps near Humenné in the Carpathian Mountains in the evening on november 22. Walenty Rogawski did not manage to hold the cavalry together and it split up. Next day, on november 23, Rákóczi decided to send his infantry in order to pillage the enemy's camp. While it was doing so, Rogawski finally gathered his troops and unexpectedly attacked the Transylvanians. In a short time, Rákóczi had to announce a retreat. The battle was won by the Polish.


When Bethlen found out about Rákóczi's defeat, he had to break the siege, gather his soldiers and return to Bratislava, and sent a cavalry of 12,000 to northern Hungary led by George Széchy, in order to secure it against the Lisowczycy. Ferdinand II made him sign a cease-fire and on January 16, 1620 they signed a peace treaty in Pozsony (now Bratislava).

The battle of Humenné was an important part of the war as the Polish intervention saved Vienna - the capital city of the Holy Roman Empire - from Transylvania. That is why some Polish sources call it the first Vienna relief - the second being the famous Battle of Vienna in 1683.

See also


  1. Witold Biernacki, Biała Góra 1620, Wydawnictwo Finna, Gdańsk 2006, p 238, ISBN 83-89929-90-2
  2. Witold Biernacki, Biała Góra 1620, Wydawnictwo Finna, Gdańsk 2006, p 239, ISBN 83-89929-90-2
  3. "Bánlaky József - A magyar nemzet hadtörténelme". Retrieved 2016-10-31.

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