Exactly 508 years ago, our ancestors defeated the Moscow army near Orsha

Battle of Orsha / Wikipedia
5 mins

Today is an important date for Belarusians, Ukrainians, Lithuanians and Poles, because on September 8, 1514, our united forces of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania defeated the army of the Grand Duchy of Moscow, which was three times larger.

Exactly 508 years ago, our ancestors defeated the Moscow army near Orsha

The Battle of Orsha, September 8, 1514 / Belarusian Hajun

The great Hetman of Lithuania Konstanty Ostrogski, a person equally revered by both our peoples, led the army of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The light cavalry was led by one of the richest magnates of the Duchy Yury Radzivil, and the Polish cavalry and infantry were led into battle by Janusz Sverchowski and Wojciech Sampolinski.

The composition of the army of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania near Orsha:

  • Cavalry — 16 000;
  • Polish cavalry — 3 000;
  • Polish infantry — 3 000;
  • Volunteers  — 2 500;
  • Artillery — unknown.

The composition of the Moscow army near Orsha:

  • Cavalry — 75 000;
  • Artillery — unknown.

Despite the quantitative superiority, according to researchers, the Moscow army had less artillery, and there were no heavy guns at all. Their army consisted entirely of the cavalry of the feudal militia. As a result, through the elaborate actions of the army of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and with the help of artillery fire, the Moscow army was defeated and retreated in panic. Spoiler alert: it didn’t save them.

The forces of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania lost only about 4,000 fighters, and the «eastern neighbors» 10 times more – 40,000, also captured: 10 voivodes, 17 troops leaders and more than 2,000 soldiers.

For the Belarusian people, September 8 is the day of military glory. And we should also note a certain symbolism, 500 years ago our ancestors fought together against the Moscow army, just like we do today.

P.S. More details on the Battle of Orsha are available here.

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