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TitleKulikovo 1380 The Battle That Made Russia Campaign 332
LanguageEnglish
File Size36.4 MB
Total Pages97
Table of Contents
                            Cover
Contents
Origins of the Campaign
	The Mongol Conquest
	The Rise of Moscow
	Dmitry and Mamai
	Mamai’s Move
	A Note About Sources
Chronology
Opposing Commanders
	Rus’ Commanders
	Golden Horde Commanders
Opposing Forces
	Dmitry’s Army of Detachments
	The Golden Horde
	Logistics
Opposing Plans
	The Battlefield
	Dmitry’s Gamble
	Mamai’s Hammer
The Battle
	Dmitry Across The Don
	Over The Don
	Readying Mamai’s Host
	The Battle of Champions
	The Initial Clash
	Battle Is Joined
	A Bloody Afternoon
	Ambush!
	The Rout
Aftermath
	Donskoy Triumphant
	Mamai’s Downfall
	Moscow Burns…
	…But Moscow Also Triumphs
The Battlefield Today
	The Invisible Battlefield
	Kulikovo Today
	A Shrine To Russia
Bibliography
Index
Imprint
                        
Document Text Contents
Page 1

MARK GALEOTTI ILLUSTRATED BY DARREN TAN

KULIKOVO 1380
The battle that made Russia

Page 2

CAMPAIGN 332

KULIKOVO 1380
The battle that made Russia

MARK GALEOTTI ILLUSTRATED BY DARREN TAN
Series Editor Marcus Cowper

Page 48

48

DMITRY ACROSS THE DON

‘Grand Duke Dmitry Ivanovich… gathered many warriors and went against
the Tatars in order to protect his patrimonies, the holy churches, Christianity,
and all the Russian lands. When the prince crossed the Oka, other messages
came to him, that Mamai had gathered his troops behind the Don, and was
camped in the field and waiting for Jogaila and the Lithuanian army.

‘The Grand Duke crossed the Don, to where there is a clean and spacious
field. There, the filthy Polovtsi, the regiments of Tatars, gathered in an open
field near the mouth of the Nepriadva.’

The Short Chronicle Tale

Dmitry set out from Moscow in August 1380, heading south-east to the
tributary city of Kolomna, held by Mikula Vasilievich Velyaminov, where
most of his host was assembled. After inspecting them at Devichye (Maidens’)
Field, he then marched them west towards Serpukhov. There, on the 26th, on
the north bank of the Oka River, he met up with Vladimir Andreyevich and
the forces he had mustered, and also late-arriving detachments, which had
followed at speed from Moscow, under Dmitry’s seasoned seneschal of the
city, Timofei Velyaminov (a cousin of Mikula of Kolomna). ‘What makes a
noise that rattles early before dawn?’ asked The Zadonschina. ‘It is Prince
Vladimir Andreyevich’s regiments as he leads them to the Great Don.’

This 19th-century painting by
Jozéf Brandt shows a 14th- or
15th-century Polish-Lithuanian
aristocratic cavalryman, of the
kind which would have made
up the elite of Jogaila’s forces.
Note the eastern-style curved
sabre but also the warhammer,
better suited to punching
through the plate mail worn in
the west. (Public domain)

Page 49

49

The combined force headed south along the Old Dankovskaya Road, and
on 6 September reached the Don. By this time, spies and scouts had reported
not just that Mamai was camped on the watershed south of the Don, at
Kulikovo, but that Jogaila’s Lithuanian army was marching eastwards from
Odoyev and would arrive by 10 September at the latest. Oleg of Ryazan’s
forces were approaching from the north-east, but at a much more relaxed pace
and were unlikely to arrive before the 14th, which was the last day Mamai
had set for a muster of his combined army. For this intelligence, Dmitry
could thank Semyon Melik, a Moscow boyar of Lithuanian extraction,
who was seemingly the closest thing he had to a chief of intelligence. He
participated personally in reconnaissance missions before the battle, scouting
out the land before Dmitry led his army across the Oka, and later bringing
information on the location and strength of Mamai’s forces. In the words
of The Tale of the Rout of Mamai, Dmitry sent ‘the best of his heroes to
the field to meet with the Tatar scouts on the steppe: Semyon Melik, Ignaty
Kren, Fom Tynin, Pyotr Gorsky, Karp Oleksin, Petrush Churikov and many
other far riders.’ In this way, as in so many others, the Russians had learned
the Mongols’ arts of war, including the use of far-ranging patrols tasked
not just with scouting the enemy lines but also acquiring what they called
‘tongues’. In other words, they captured at least one soldier from Mamai’s
army (presumably a sentry, scout or forager) who could be interrogated for
the intelligence he could reveal.

The news was grim. Even without his allies from Lithuania and Ryazan,
Mamai had assembled a powerful army, mobilizing the full military might
of the Blue Horde. On the other hand, Dmitry still seemed to have surprise
on his side. A noble prisoner snatched from the enemy – presumably again
Semyon Melik’s work – said that Mamai is ‘already standing on Kuzmin
Gati, but he is in no hurry, he is waiting for Olgerd of Lithuania and Oleg
of Ryazan, but the king does not know about your army, nor does he expect
you to meet with him, according to a message from Oleg, for another three
days until he is over the Don.’ Although the etymology of ‘Kuzmin Gati’ is
disputed, it presumably referred to the plains around the Red Hill, as the
only place today known to be called Kuzmin Gatya is a village near Tambov,
some 200km (125 miles) away to the east.

So even though the Golden Horde’s army was already larger than his
own, Dmitry opted to strike before Mamai could be reinforced by his
approaching allies. He encamped at Berezouy, on the north bank of the
Don and north-east of Mamai’s forces and on 7 September held a council
of war. Ostensibly to agree on their tactics, in keeping with the democratic
traditions of the Rus’, in practice this was likely to have been, more than
anything else, a chance for the young Grand Prince to ensure the egos and
rivalries amongst his princely allies were respectively satisfied and defused.
He presented the situation in stark terms: the Don was their Rubicon,
once they crossed it, they were committed, and had to fight, fight at once,
and fight to win. Some of those assembled lost their nerve and advocated
withdrawal. Others encouraged Dmitry to remain on their side of the river
and wait for Mamai to come to them. With Jogaila nearing, though, and
a solid array of Muscovite client princes in his pocket, Dmitry had both
common sense and a political bloc on his side and he won the day. Late on
the 7th, the Russian forces forded the Don, and early on the next morning
began to deploy. The battle had begun.

Page 96

96

extent of empire 8, 10
political split within 21
Russian life under 8–11, 79, 86

Moscow 11, 13
attacked by Tver 17
Donskoy Monastery 43
rise 5, 8–11
sacked by Tokhtamysh 17, 82, 83–85,

83, 84
Mozhaisk 11, 84
Mstislav III, prince of Kiev 6–7
Mstislav Konstantinovich, prince of

Tarusa 51, 60
Mstislav the Bold, prince of Novgorod

6–7
Musa, Murza 27

Nabiyev, Rustam 87
Nariman Tarihi (‘History of Nariman’)

16, 34
Nechayev, Stepan 88
Nepriadva River 41
Nikon Chronicle 16, 67
Novgorod 7, 11–12, 25, 81
Novgorod First Chronicle 5, 11, 15,

18–19, 57

Oka River 17
Oleg, prince of Ryazan 22, 49, 77,

80–81, 85, 85
Olgerd, Grand Duke of Lithuania 13, 22
Olgerdovich, Andrei 20, 42, 51, 52, 61,

71
Olgerdovich, Dmitry 20, 42, 51, 52,

61, 71
Oslabya, Rodion 43, 57–60

Pechenegs 6
Peresvet, Alexander 20, 42, 43, 56,

57–60, 57
legacy 93

pirates 12, 25
Polo, Marco 9
Posilge, Johann von 77
Putin, Vladimir 92
Pyanye River, battle of (1377) 14, 17, 27

religion, importance of 50, 72
Roman Mikhailovich of Bryansk 52
Roman Semyonovich of Novosilsk 52
Rostov 52
Rus’ army 47

cavalry 26, 27–29, 27, 44, 66
commanders 18–20
discipline 27
Dmitry’s alliance 24–25, 30, 51
infantry 26
logistics 35–36
organization 25
overview 23–29
plans 37–44, 49
size 23

Rus’ army regiments at Kulikovo
Advance 42, 51, 54–55, 58–59,

60–61, 65, 68–69, 70
Ambush 42, 43, 46, 52, 54–55, 58–59,

68–69, 71–73, 72, 74–75
Left Hand 42, 51, 52, 54–55, 58–59,

61, 66, 68–69, 70, 71

Main 42, 51, 54–55, 58–59, 61,
62–63, 65–66, 68–69, 70–71, 72–73

Reserve 52
Right Hand 42, 51, 52, 54–55, 58–59,

61, 66, 68–69, 70
Sentry 42, 50–51, 54–55, 58–59, 60,

68–69
Rus’ people

history and overview 6
principalities 4

Russian Primary Chronicle 7
Ryazan

aftermath 85
forces at Kulikovo 24–25, 44
forces’ march to Kulikovo 49
Mongol attacks 7, 22
Muscovite rivalry 19, 22

Ryurikid dynasty 8–11

Sarai 8, 12, 14, 15, 17, 44
Semyon Konstantinovich, prince of

Obolensk 51
Sergius of Radonezh, St 50, 57

background 20
church in his name 21, 91
and Kulikovo 37, 50
and Peresvet 43, 57–60, 57

Serkisov, Andrei 28, 50–51, 60
Serov, Valentin 87
Serpukhov 19, 52
Shchusev, Alexander 91
shields

Genoese 34, 38–39
Mongol 33
Rus’ 6, 19, 26, 26, 29, 34, 66, 74–75

Short Chronicle Tale 15, 33, 48, 73
siege weapons 7
Smolka River 41
sources 15–16
Story of the Battle with Mamai 15
Story of the Life and Death of Grand

Prince Dmitry Ivanovich 13, 15, 18,
20, 79, 84–85, 85–86

Tabriz 23
The Tale of the Rout of Mamai 16, 61

on aftermath 80
on Kulikovo 5, 41, 44, 47, 50, 60, 70,

71–72, 73
on logistics 35
on march to Kulikovo 49, 52
overview and date 16
on Rus’ army 18, 27
on size of armies at Kulikovo 23

Tale of Tokhtamysh 16, 31, 83, 84
Tarusa 51
Tatars

background 6
at Kulikovo 46, 53–56, 54–55, 58–59,

60–61, 62–63, 65–66, 67, 68–69,
74–75

in Mongol army 31–33
in Rus’ army 28, 42

Tatinki Ford 41, 54–55
Tatishchev, Vasily 16, 67, 89
Telyak (Tulyak) 53
thrones 38–39
Tokhtamysh, khan of the White Horde

final defeat of Mamai 81–83
at Kalka River 17

Moscow sacked by 15, 17, 82, 83–85,
83, 84

rivalry with Mamai 12, 14, 17, 21
Tabriz campaign 23

Tver 11, 13, 14, 17

Ugra River, battle of (1480) 92
ushkuniki raiders 12, 25

Valui, Timofey Vasilievich 51, 70
Vasily, prince of Kozelsk 7
Vasily Mikhailovich of Kashira 52
Vasily Vasilievich, prince of Yaroslavl 52
Vasnetsov, Apollinary: paintings by 11,

13, 83
Vasnetsov, Viktor: paintings by 6, 51, 87
Velyaminov, Ivan 28, 36
Velyaminov, Mikula Vasilievich 42, 48,

51, 61
Velyaminov, Nikolai 52, 70
Velyaminov, Timofei 12, 48, 51
Vladimir

forces at Kulikovo 24, 51, 70, 78
Mongol initial conquest 7, 31
Moscow and Tver squabble over rule

12–13, 17
Tokhtamysh captures 84

Vladimir Andreyevich, prince of
Serpukhov 20
background 18–19
at Kulikovo 43, 52, 71–72, 74–75
in later life 80
march to Kulikovo 17, 18, 48

voivodes 19
Volga River 6, 8
Vozha River, battle of (1378) 13, 14, 17,

19, 78
Vyazemsk 51

weapons
bows 28–29, 32–33, 33, 51, 62–63
crossbows 26, 34
darts 52
halberds 33
lances 51, 62–63
maces 9, 51, 52
overview of Mongol 34
overview of Rus’ 26
poleaxes 6, 26, 38–39
siege weapons 7
spears 26, 33, 52
swords 29, 31, 33, 48, 61
warhammers 48

Wood of Green Oaks 68–69, 71, 74–75,
89

Yaroslavl 52
Yevdokia, princess of Moscow 17, 18
Yuri, Grand Prince of Vladimir 7

Zadonshchina
on aftermath 80, 83
on Kulikovo 8, 37, 73, 78
on march to Kulikovo 48
on Mongols 14
on Olgerdoviches 20
overview and date 15–16
on Rus’ army 23, 27
on Vladimir Andreyevich 19

Page 97

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AUTHOR’S NOTE
Translating from Cyrillic texts always poses challenges. I have chosen to
transliterate names as they are pronounced, and have also ignored the
diacritical ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ signs found in the original. The only exceptions
are names that have acquired common forms in English – for example, I use
Rus’ rather than Rus. I also call what is now known as Kyiv by the Russian-
form Kiev to reflect the historical identity of the medieval cities of the Rus’,
without in any way challenging modern Ukrainian preferences. Likewise,
Mongol and Tatar words and names are rendered in the most generally
recognizable forms.
Mongol and Mongol-Tatar are also used interchangeably, as makes sense
for the 14th century. There had been an original Mongol tribe called the
Tatars, who had been absorbed into Genghis Khan’s imperial steppe
confederation, but when Europeans used the term, they as likely as not
assumed it derived from ‘Tartarus’, the deepest pit of Hell in classical
mythology. Later, as the Golden Horde disintegrated, Tatar emerged as the
usual term for the descendants of the steppe conquerors.

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