The Siege of Gvozdansko (Croatian: Opsada Gvozdanskog) was a siege of Gvozdansko Castle in the Kingdom of Croatia within Habsburg Monarchy. The battle around Gvozdansko and the siege of the castle lasted from 3 October 1577 to 13 January 1578, #Croatia #Hrvatska #Europe #
between the defending Croatian forces and the invading Ottoman army under the command of Ferhat-paša Sokolović. The battle resulted in an Ottoman victory with heavy losses on the Ottoman side, while all defenders died during the siege.
After the fall of Bulgaria, Serbia and Bosnia, the Ottoman Empire directed its forces towards Hungary and Croatia.
The Ottomans attempted to conquer the Gvozdansko Castle on several occasions. The first major attempt was in 1566. The second failed attempt was in 1561, when 8,000 Ottomans under the command of Malkoč-beg attacked the castle.
The third attempt was in 1574, when Ferhat-paša Sokolović tried to capture the castle by treachery. Another attempt in 1576 by Kapidži-paša also failed.
In early October, a large Ottoman army was led by Ferhad Pasha and Kapidži-pasha into central Croatia. On 3 October, these forces besieged Gvozdansko.
The fort was defended by around 300 men, mostly miners and soldiers, under the command of four experienced captains: Damjan Doktorović, Jure Gvozdanović, Nikola Ožegović and Andrija Stepšić.
One soldier managed to pass through Ottoman lines and reach the Croatian-held town of Steničnjak. However, the lack of soldiers prevented a counterattack. It was also expected that Gvozdansko would be able to withstand the siege until winter,
when the Ottoman withdrawal was predicted. Ferhad Pasha deployed the artilley on surrounding hills and ordered a prolonged bombardment of the fort. The siege prevented the supply of food and ammunition to the fort. There was also a lack of water.
The last supplies to the fort were brought in August. A part of the Ottoman army was left to keep Gvozdansko under siege, while Ferhad Pasha led the rest and attacked the remaining neighboring forts, including Ostrožac that was captured on 13 November.
After a short siege, the Zrin Castle, formerly the seat of the Zrinski family, was captured on 20 December. The fall of Zrin left Gvozdansko completely surrounded with Ottoman held forts and towns.
The main part of the Ottoman army joined the besieging force near Gvozdansko at the end of December. Around 5,000 troops with 30 cannons encamped around Gvozdansko, and about the same number of troops was positioned in its vicinity.
The fort was already under siege for more than 2 months. The defending force lacked food and ammunition and suffered from hunger, thirst, and cold, while many died or were wounded in combat. All calls for surrender were rejected.
Three major assaults on Gvozdansko were repelled on 10, 11 and 12 January, leaving only around 30 men still alive that held their positions on the last days of the siege.
The final assault was planned for the night of 12–13 January, but around midnight the lights in the fort went out. The commanders thought it was a trap and the attack was postponed for the morning.
The conquerors launched their assault at dawn on January 13, but from the works not a single shot was fired on them , although the defenders stood on the ramparts with weapons in their hands. When the Ottomans breached the castle gates at dawn, they found a terrific scene:
frozen, immobile bodies of the garrison, women and children who preferred to choose death from the winter and the hunger rather than surrender and become slaves.
The defenders continued to hold their watch even after death at the battlestations, as if by their last act they wanted to make known that they did not agree to surrender and slavery.
Because they did not encounter in their campaigns such a thing until then, the Turkish commanders were surprised but also amazed by the unprecedented courage and the sacrifice of the Croats.
Ferhad Pasha commanded that a Catholic priest be brought and the dead be buried in the Christian rite, with military honors.
In awe of the defendants of Gvozdanski, he freed the few remaining Christians of this region from the heavy taxes that had been set for other lands.

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