Battle of Molodi

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In the Battle of Molodi between July 26 and August 2, 1572, the decision in the Russo-Crimean Tatar War (1570–1574) was made in favor of the Russian troops.


In the first half of the 16th century, the Russian chronicles counted 43 incursions by the Crimean Tatars . The most severe of these took place in 1517, 1521, 1536, 1537 and 1552. At the same time, the Moscow Empire was able to record considerable success in the middle of the century with the capture of the Tatar khanates Kazan and Astrakhan . Since the second half of the 1560s pressure had been exerted on the khan of the Crimean Tatars, Dewlet Giray (1512–1577), to induce an attack on the Russian tsar Ivan IV (1530–1584). Sultan Selim II (1524–1574) planned the capture of Astrakhan himself and for this reason demanded the support of the Crimean khanate . Poles and Lithuanians had been in the Livonian War (1558–1583) against Tsarist Russia for years and threatened to stop their tributes to the Khan if he did not support them effectively.

The Russian Crimean War began as early as 1570 when the Crimean Tatars invaded Russia ( Ryazan region ) . In the following year, the Tatar army broke through the Russian positions on the Oka again and burned Moscow almost completely from May 24 to May 26, 1571 . Then the Khan Dewlet Giray demanded the cession of Kazan and Astrakhan in return for a peace treaty. Ivan IV delayed the negotiations and finally broke them off completely in the spring of 1572 after he had used the previous months to strengthen both the Russian armed forces and the positions on the Oka. Dewlet Giray therefore advanced again against Moscow in the summer of 1572.


On July 26th, the Tatar army appeared south of the Oka. On the opposite bank, the Russian army under Mikhail Worotynski was in extensive entrenchments. The Russians repelled any attempt by the Tatars to cross the river within the next 24 hours. However, on the night of July 28, most of the Tatar troops managed to cross the river at Kashira . After that, the Khan moved directly against Moscow. The only option for the Russian army was to follow the Tatars. They benefited from the fact that Devlet Giray's army made slow progress because of the numerous heavy artillery it carried. In the small village of Molodi (60 kilometers from Moscow) the Russians finally caught up with the Tatar rearguard . While the Russian troops were holed up behind walls and palisades, Diwej Mirsa, the Tatar commander of the main contingent, decided to stand at Molodi for battle and only then to march on Moscow.

At first there was only local fighting in the following days. In one of these clashes 3,000 Russian Strelitzen were overrun in an advanced position. In another skirmish, Diwej Mirsa fell from his horse and was captured.

On August 2nd the Khan Devlet Giray put everything on the decisive attack. The Tatars stormed the Russian palisades without success. To overcome this, they had to get off their horses. Prince Mikhail Worotynski with most of the Russian army now bypassed the flank of the Tatars and surprisingly appeared in their rear. The Tatar army collapsed in the Russian crossfire with great losses . The Khan fled the battlefield with his bodyguard .


Memorial Stone (2002)

The victory of the Russian troops was celebrated all over Russia, and it received more attention in the rest of Europe. He gave Ivan IV the opportunity to use the majority of his troops in the Livonian War and to ensure the protection of the southern borders with relatively weak forces. The Battle of Molodi is considered to be the beginning of the decline of the Crimean Khanate.

Prince Mikhail Worotynsky was richly rewarded for his careful leadership. At the same time, the tsar now viewed him as a potential competitor. This led to Vorotynski's execution in the summer of 1573 .


  1. Соловьев, С.М. История России с древнейших времен, книга III, 1463-1584, М. 2001


  • Nikita Romanow, Robert Payne: Ivan the Terrible . Königswinter 1992, ISBN 3-87179-178-4 .

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