Siege of Starodub (1535)


January 22, 2022

The siege of Starodub (July 30 - August 29, 1535) - an episode of the Starodub War (1534-1537). On August 29, 1535, after a month-long siege, the troops of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania captured Starodub during the war between the Moscow State and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, previously captured by Moscow in 1503.


During the campaign of 1534, the Lithuanians had already laid siege to Starodub, but this attempt was unsuccessful. In response, Moscow forces in the winter of 1535 carried out several raids deep into Lithuania, reaching Vilna and Novogrudok. After that, Lithuania had to turn to Poland for military assistance. In the summer campaign of 1535, Polish and Lithuanian troops led by Jan Tarnowski and Yuri Radziwill decided not to go to the well-fortified Smolensk and struck in the southern direction. After liberating Gomel on July 16, they approached Starodub 15 days later. At the same time, the Crimean Tatars, allied with Lithuania, attacked the Ryazan lands, drawing some forces of the Moscow state.

The course of the battle

The siege was led by the future founder of the city of Ternopil - Jan Tarnowski. The Starodub garrison under the command of Prince Fedor Telepnev-Obolensky repulsed several attacks before Polish-Lithuanian troops blew up part of the wall. The garrison repulsed 2 more attacks, but the city was taken.


The Starodub mine (in the old sense of undermining with the installation of explosives) is considered the first successful experience of mining carried out by the Russian-Polish army. In addition to affecting the spirit of the defenders, the consequences of the explosion were catastrophic for wood and earthen fortifications, old-fashioned compared to stone. The Moscow Chronicle described the event as follows: .

Massacre of Muscovites

After capturing the city, Tarnowski ordered the execution of the surviving defenders. According to some estimates, 13,000 people died. Noble Muscovites were not killed, but taken prisoner. Telepnev-Obolensky and the Sytsky princes were also taken prisoner. Later, Ivan IV the Terrible complained about this mass murder of Muscovites in negotiations with Lithuanian ambassadors. Russian historians call these events a "massacre." According to the historian Krom, the cruelty of J. Tarnowski

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