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The Battle of Kressenbrunn 1260 AD

The Battle of Kressenbrunn 1260 AD


It’s the hot summer of the year 1260. Two opposing armies of the Bohemian and Hungarian kings catch sight of one another over the bordering Morava River. Both rulers know that who so ever dares to cross the river first, most likely, would be scuppering their chances of winning the encounter. The stalemate persists, but the final clash is imminent. Battle is about to ensue. This video is sponsored by Gods and Glory. Gods and Glory is a tactical mobile game that blends city building with squad based strategy. Choose from a myriad of units to customise your attack parties and pit your war-bands against other players online. With over 3 million players across the world you will need your wits to conquer the realms. Support our channel by clicking the link in the description below, download the game and you will receive an Obsidian City upgrade, 1500 crystals, an exp boost and an additional resource starter pack a significant edge for any new ruler. It is late Autumn of the year 1249. Young Bohemian prince Ottokar is held in captivity within the walls of Primda castle as a result of putting his name behind the unsuccessful rebellion against his father, Wenceslaus One-Eyed, King of Bohemia. However, being the only living son and heir, Ottokar was an important political asset in the hands of his parent and within a couple of weeks was freed and reinstated as Margrave of Moravia, the easternmost part of Wenceslaus’ domain. It was here that he oversaw the reconstruction of the ruined countryside pillaged by the Mongols some years earlier. But Ottokar’s role as son of the incumbent monarch was more than just mere land administration. For the last few years King Wenceslaus was aiming to gain control over the neighbouring Duchy of Austria, which was an arena of significant turmoil since 1246, when the last duke of the ruling Babenberg dynasty died in battle against the Hungarians. Without delving too much into the details, in 1251 the Bohemian king took advantage of the favourable political circumstances and installed Ottokar as Duke of Austria and Styria, with the endorsement of the local nobility. To bolster his claim to the newly acquired lands, Ottokar was married to the sister of the late Babenberg duke, Margaret of Austria. Although almost 35 years older than him, Margaret was one of the last of the two living female members of House of Babenberg. However, Wenceslaus did not enjoy his victory for too long, as he died the very next year and Ottokar stepped up to his father’s throne in Prague. One could argue that the young heir wasn’t really prepared to fulfil this new role but in truth, during his final years, Wenceslaus stepped back somewhat to allow Ottokar to gain some much needed experience. Thanks to this eased ascension, the new king quickly consolidated his rule over the duchies remaining under his control and moved on to expand his influence even further. It’s worth mentioning, that Ottokar’s kingdom was just a part of the much bigger Holy Roman Empire, a loose amalgamation of various fiefs, lordships, bishopries, duchies, and kingdoms nominally ruled by the pope-blessed Holy Roman Emperor. But at the time of Ottokar replacing his deceased father, the imperial Hohenstaufen dynasty died out and the empire entered what is known today as the Great Interregnum, a decades-long period of succession crisis and turmoil. It is easy to predict, that the ambitious young monarch from Bohemia tried to leverage his position and endeavoured to claim imperial dignity as his mother came from the Hohenstaufen family. Yet Ottokar couldn’t win the support of the electors with his power and wealth alone, so for a time, he settled down in favour of other candidates, who also struggled in trying to gain the necessary backing. Despite his failed attempt to claim the imperial throne, Ottokar’s growing influence became a serious concern to his neighbours inside and outside the empire, most notably to Bela IV, King of Hungary. During that time, Bela was still in the process of recovering his kingdom from the devastation caused by the Mongol attack fifteen years prior. Much of his efforts concentrated on strengthening the defensive line along the Danube in the event of another Mongol invasion. But in spite of his internal challenges, just like Ottokar, Bela saw the succession dispute in Austria and Styria as an excellent opportunity to expand his influence and reinforce his defence plans. In fact, Bela was personally responsible for the extinction of the Babenberg dynasty in Austria, as he killed the last Duke of Austria in battle in 1246. Of course, the Hungarian king didn’t just passively observe Ottokar’s expansion and from 1250 he actively bedevilled the efforts of his neighbour through the constant raiding of the Moravian and Austrian territories. Growing conflict between the two eventually attracted the attention of the Holy See and subsequent papal mediation awarded Styria to Bela, while Ottokar retained his authority over Austria. Thus, a period of uneasy peace ensued. Although the hostilities ended, Bela had a tough time controlling Styria. Local nobility eventually rose up in revolt and expelled the Hungarian governor in 1258. Obviously, Bela quickly responded by invading the unruly duchy and installed his son Stephen as Duke of Styria. Yet this action only temporarily quelled the rebellion and just two years later it broke out once again, forcing Stephen to run back to Hungary. This was an opportune moment for Ottokar, who most likely aided the Styrian opposition the whole time, to move his troops south and regain control over the disputed region that he agreed to hand over to Bela six years earlier. Unsurprisingly, the Bohemian king didn’t have to wait too long for the Hungarian reaction. In early summer of the year 1260 he received reports that Bela was already in the process of assembling his army near the border formed by the Morava River. The Hungarian king was aided by contingents sent by the Polish and Ruthenian princes, and Bela had around 35,000 men under his command. In a matter of weeks Ottokar finished gathering his units and marched the 30,000 strong host supplemented by his allies from Silesia and Brandenburg to meet the threat. Both armies gathered some distance north-west of Pressburg and set camps on the both banks of the bordering Morava River. Unsurprisingly, neither side dared to cross the river, waiting for their rival to act first. Such a stalemate lasted for a week, and since the men suffered from the summer heat Ottokar offered to retreat from the river to give Bela a chance to cross and fight a chivalrous battle on equal terms. The Hungarian king agreed and as soon as the Bohemian units marched back, his troops began to move through the fords. The Hungarian van, comprised mainly of light mounted units under the command of Prince Stephen, crossed first and soon some of Bela’s men, possibly Cuman or Pecheneg, began unordered skirmishing against Ottokar’s units. Factoring in all accounts, Hungarian sources blame Ottokar for treacherously attacking Bela’s troops while crossing the river, but it seems a bit more likely that the Hungarian light riders, yearning for battle, sparked the events that followed. Seeing that his troops were being harrased by Bela’s mounted skirmishers, Ottokar mustered Bohemian knightly cavalry and lead a swift charge at the enemy’s vanguard. They furiously struck the unsuspecting Hungarians killing many and routing the rest of the forward skirmishers. Other Czech units soon followed their king and joined the fight, attacking the remaining part of Prince Stephen’s van which had already completed the crossing. Yet the unprepared Hungarian units were unable to mount an effective defence in time, and suffered huge losses as Ottokar’s men pushed them back to the river. The Hungarian heavy cavalry under King Bela along with the rest of his troops could do nothing but watch the vanquishing of their retreating allies. Many were killed and many drowned trying to escape the slaughter. Prince Stephen suffered a wound, but managed to cross the river with his retinue. In the matter of an hour, 10,000 of Bela’s men lay dead along the banks or taken by the stream. In all but an instant Bela’s plans of reclaiming Styria were crushed under the hooves of the Bohemian heavy cavalry, and while the surviving core of his army remained virtually intact, he had to surrender his ambitions of western expansion as he soon faced a new Mongolian threat along with the rebellion of his own son. Ottokar on the other hand, thanks to the unforeseen circumstances that led to this victory, consolidated his rule over Austria and Styria giving him room to further the expansion of his kingdom and established his position as the most powerful ruler within the Holy Roman Empire. But the rest of his story is yet to be written.

100 thoughts on “The Battle of Kressenbrunn 1260 AD

  1. the kind of problem you face when your king tasks you with rebuilding a raided territory and your misfit peasants only reproduce at the ..human rate, having around three children reaching reproductive age at 15 years of age. that puts those reputable mongolian landscapingefforts through piles of skulls into a different perspective.

  2. You need to do battles of Konstantinopole. Maybe when westerners sacked the city, or when turks took the city. That would be cool. After all, it was one of the biggest city for a long time.

  3. You need to develop an academic game to us based on this graphics that you made , with crusader kings mechanics influences ! i will certainly buy it.

  4. Really enjoying your videos, will you ever do more Game of Thrones videos or are they just for special events? I really enjoy those 🙂

  5. I wonder if you could cover The Battle of A Baoa Qu (One Year War) I know it's fiction but maybe you can feature it someday in one of your special upload just like the game of thrones and star war battle you covered a while back.

  6. You should make a video about indonesian historic battle in the era of majapahit, sriwijaya, tarumanagara, or any indo-java empires back then. Not just that the lore was great, the political influence of some war felt like it came straight out of a fantasy novel.

  7. Your videos / battle animations are really awesome!
    May I ask, is there any chance that we will see also some Hussite Vs Crusaders battles (1419-1434)?

  8. .. but the rest of HIS STORY, is yet to be written…
    Very clever wordplay, this is what history IS.
    Stories get written, things left out, things get overexposed and underexposed.
    That's why we should not romanticize history, it is just a story.

  9. I'm living only few kilometers in distance from this battlefield and have no idea about such event.
    Nice inspiration for trip.
    Thanks from Bratislava.

  10. I hate this, my Country is at the center of the map and completely egnored just because it was in a personal union with Ungary, it was stil a sovereign country.

  11. The Hungarians getting invaded and having their lands savaged by the Mongolians is history repeating itself. The Hungarians can trace their roots back to the Hunic invaders of late antiquity who like the Mongolians were master horse and bowman who back in the late Roman Empire done the same thing to the Goths, Franks, Vandals et el which was a factor in the fall of the Roman Empire in the west. You would think of all the armies and Kingdoms in Europe the Hungarians would know best on how to counter a force like the Mongolians, given their background.

  12. Bohemia Army: If you cross the river, we won't attack you but instead we fight in equal ground.
    Hungary Army: Okay.
    Also Hungary Army: Hey! let's attack that small army!
    But also Hungary Army: WTF GUYS!?

  13. 1:14 – I can almost feel the the "wtf" of any foreign historian looking up the pronunciation of "Přimda". It is true that the letter "Ř" is kind of Czech trolling of the world.

  14. Your opponent telling you to cross the river in a chivalrous battle?
    Who even thinks it's a good idea?

    You know what would be better? Ottokar temporarily damming the river earlier and open it as the Hungarians retreated.

  15. Ruthian? Rus or Russian. Galitsia is one of the oldest Russian principalities and only became Polish around 1382 when prince Dmitry died without living heirs and the rest of the Rus lands were in turmoil.

  16. I actually only found this out recently but on my dad's side, I'm actually descended from several of the Holy Roman Emperors. Emperors Konrad II, Henry III, and Henry IV. Not to mention probably half the German nobility. I'm related to more kings and counts and princesses than I can count

    I was stoked when I found that stuff. It turned out I was descended from fucking royalty!

  17. Filty hungarians in all battles they claim they were victims and won everything 🤣😂 Cmon bro gwt some balls

  18. Hopefully i remember that right: Nemo Styrorum Pantheram tangere tentet Ructat ab ore ignem posteriusque cacat.!
    (Nobody should dare to tempt the styrian panther because fire is coming out of his mouth and his bottom.)

  19. Hi..
    Please create a Didgori battle 50 000 georgians against 400 000 turkey..

    It was a great fight 1125 Ad

  20. Man those mongols were like a plague. They ravaged whatever they came across and no one dared to come close to their settlements.

  21. I really like these videos. I'd love to see a series on the rise of Chingis Khan and the Mongol invasion of Europe. I would also REALLY love a series on the life and battles of Vlad Tepes.

  22. Would love to see you do Waterloo 1815 and other battles around this time. Any from the 1600s to early 1900s would be interesting such as Trafalgar or The Somme. Also Agincourt 1415.

  23. To be fair, Bohemian and Austrian lands were raided by Hungarians time and time again and they didn't deserve a "clean fight" so even if it was the case of Ottokar breaking the agreement; I wouldn't see anything wrong with that.

  24. In here these Bohemian lands legend goes that Hungarians attacked several days early and tried to ambush the Bohemians. Just to combat the Hungarian propaganda from the cronic 😛

  25. I could pass on the micro transaction filled mobile game in the beginning of the video, other then that, great video!

  26. great videos, thank you.
    I'd also be very interested in a video about Henry VII. (1274-1313). Became holy roman emperor in 1312 but to achieve this he had to conquer parts of Italy and parts of the city of Rome first (plus the pope wasn't in Rome at that time).

  27. Pretty clear that the entire thing was orchestrated by the Czechs and that it was just a cowardly ambush. Not sure what this entire "good bois czechs were harrassed, by the nomads too!" nonsense is for.

  28. Western European youtubers: Should we cover numerous Hungarian victories? Nah we don't like them so we are going to pick out an obscure battle they lost.

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