Introduction page Battles and campaigns 1450 to 1697 Army composition
main conflicts 1450-1697 Maps of Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth Army's development 1450-1697

Summary of Conflicts

Part 1 - from
1454 to 1510

Part 2 - from
1512 to 1577

Part 3 - from
1577 to 1618

Part 4 - from
1618 to 1647

Part 5 - from
1648 to 1655

Part 6 - from 1655 to 1660

Part 7 - from
1660 to 1672

Part 8 - from
1672 to 1699


1618 to 1647                                       (links to map of Poland)

1618-1621 War with TurkeyZolkiewski's last stand at Cecora 1620
The Cossack incursions continued and the Sultan sent a force under Iskander Pasha into Poland. Zolkiewski met them near Kamieniec Podolski and on 28th September 1618 drove them back with heavy losses. The Busza agreement was reaffirmed while the Poles expanded the Cossack register and increased the annual subsidy to them in an attempt to maintain their loyalty to the crown and to stop their attacks on Turkey. But these volatile frontiersmen did not remain loyal for long and opened negotiations with Muscovy.

The 30 years war had begun and although Zygmunt sympathised with the Hapsburgs he was forbidden by the Sejm to send Polish assistance. Instead he arranged private recruitment through his own purse and a large force of Poles and Cossack adventurers crushed Bethlen Gabor's forces in November 1619 and raised the siege of Vienna. Unfortunately this unofficial aid to the Hapsburgs in Transylvania and Hungary drew Poland into conflict with Turkey, and the Hapsburgs were not going to provide any help in return.

Chodkiewicz at Chocim 1621A Turkish army invaded Moldavia to remove the Hospodar Gratiani, who had Polish sympathies, and he appealed for Polish assistance declaring he would provide 25,000 of his own forces. In early September 1620 the Royal Grand and Field Hetman's Zolkiewski and Koniecpolski assembled 8,000 men and marched south, however when Gratiani arrived he had but 600 men. At Cecora (18 September to 6th October 1620), on the river Prut, Zolkiewski met the 22,000 strong Moslem army of Iskanderbasha, withstanding repeated attacks during September 1620. On 29th September he ordered a retreat and for 8 difficult days discipline held despite enemy attacks. On approaching the Polish border discipline of much of the army melted and the small force was cut to pieces. Zolkiewski was killed and his head sent to the Sultan, while Koniecpolski was captured.

Polish infantry at Chocim 1621The following year a massive Turkish army of over 100,000 men invaded Poland, led by Sultan Osman II. However the disaster at Cecora finally aroused the Polish nobles and a large force was assembled. The 25,000 Poles and 20,000 Zaporozhian Cossacks led by Chodkiewicz and Lubomirski were besieged at Chocim (2 September to 9 October 1621). After over 40,000 losses the Turks gave up and returned home. Polish losses were also high and included Chodkiewicz. An honorable peace was agreed based upon Busza.

1624 Tartar Attack
In June 1624 an invading Tartar czambul setup its kos near Przemysl and commenced its raids on the locality. Small Polish forces did their best to limit the Tartars attacks and in mid June, as larger forces were gathering against them the Tartars began their return. On 19th June 1624 they were caught by Koniecpolski as they crossed the Dniestr near Martynow and the next day they were decisively defeated.

1617-1629 War with Sweden
While Poland was preoccupied in the South Gustavus Adolphus renewed the dynastic conflict with Zygmunt. In 1617, in Livonia, he had taken Dynemunt (Dunamunde) and Parnawa (Pernau). In 1621 he took Riga and the following year forced the Lithuanians to sign a truce.

Gustavus Adolphus had desire for further aggression and in July 1625 he completed his conquest of Livonia. The following year he targeted Poland directly. He landed in East Prussia, with the support of the Elector of Brandenburg, surprising the Poles and taking all the coastal towns, bar Gdansk. At Gniew (22-30 September 1626) he defeated a Polish army led by the inexperienced Zygmunt. Royal Grand Hetman Koniecpolski took over the Polish Naval Battle of Oliwa - 1627forces and fought Gustavus to something of a stalemate, with Gustavus avoiding open battle on a number of occasions. He recaptured Puck on 2nd April but received a reversal at Tczew (18 September 1627), though with Gustavus being seriously wounded the Swedes retreated. Due to Gustavus' skillful maneuvering Koniecpolski had to resort to a campaign of harassment, which was quite successful at impeding Swedish offensive operations. At sea the fleet of 9 Polish privateers defeated the Swedish fleet at Oliwa on 17 November 1627.

In April 1628 Gustavus Adolphus returned, but the war had become a war of maneuver with neither side willing to face the other without advantages of terrain or fortifications. Koniecpolski was always attempting to catch the Swedes off guard and at Trzciana (25 June 1629) he succeeded and Gustavus Adolphus was forced to sacrifice almost all his cavalry to protect his infantry. The Sejm, however, preferred to buy the Swedes off with the Treaty of Altmark (26 September 1629). In it the Swedes kept a number of coastal towns, which they used as a base for entering the Thirty Years War, and also received 3.5% of the trade through Gdansk which financed the Swedes in Germany. Its terms make it clear who the victor was despite all of Koniecpolski's efforts with inadequate forces. However Gdansk had not been taken and Gustavus' biographer, Harte, noted Adolphus was furious "that a pacific commercial rabble should beat a set of illustrious fellows, who made fighting their profession".

1630 Cossack Rebellion
In May 1630 Koniecpolski defeated a Cossack rebellion, surrounding the rebels at King Wladyslaw IV Vasa - Painting by Jan MatejkoPereiaslav.

Zygmunt died on 30th April 1632
less than a year after his beloved queen.

His son Wladyslaw IV, aged 37, was elected King
and his coronation took place on 6th February 1633.


1632-1634 War with Muscovy
Victory at Smolensk 1634With the death of Zygmunt, the Tsar decided it would be an excellent opportunity to take Smolensk and he sent Michal Sheyn, commander of the Smolensk garrison in 1609-11, with 25-32,000 men. It was not until September of the following year that a Polish relief force of 20-25,000 men arrived. On 23 September the Russians were forced to break off the siege and were themselves besieged. On the 25 February 1634 the remaining 12,000 Russians and mercenaries capitulated. The Eternal Treaty was signed on 14 June 1634 and repeated the territorial provisions agreed at Deulina while Wladyslaw renounced his claims to Tsar. This was the first war in which Poland relied on western tactics, using large numbers of pike & shot infantry and dragoons.

1632-1633 Kamieniec Podolski
War with Tartars and Turks

During the Muscovite war Tartar incursions had struck in 1632 and 1633. Grand Royal Hetman Koniecpolski defeated a force at Sasowy Rog in July 1633 and in October he successfully withstood a combined Turkish-Tartar force at Kamieniec Podolski.

1635 Armed demonstration against the Swedes
In the north with the approach of the end of the Treaty of Altmark Wladyslaw prepared for war raising an army and a fleet in Prussia to eject the occupying Swedes. The Swedes busy in the 30 Years war, agreed to leave the towns in exchange for conformation of their hold on Livonia (Treaty of Stumska Wies, 12 September 1635).

1635-1638 Cossack Rebellions
Meanwhile in the Ukraine the Poles built a fortress at Kudak to improve their control of the area, but this led to a series of Cossack rebellions in the years 1635 to 1638, which were all suppressed.

1644 Tartar Attack
A major Tartar incursion in 1644 was met by Koniecpolski near Ochmatow (30 January 1644) as it entered Polish territory and was decisively defeated. It was the most complete defeat of the Tartars by anyone up till that time and was the more spectacular because it was a fresh unladen Tartar army that had been crushed.

1638 to 1648 were called the ten years of Golden Peace when the Republic had, Tartar raids excluded, peace along all its borders. But it was a false peace - the calm before the storm.

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