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Battle of Kluszyn

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Template:Battlebox The Battle of Kluszyn (Klushino) was fought on July 4th, 1610, between forces of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Russia during Russia's Time of Troubles. Polish forces numbering about 5,000 men (of which about 80 percent were the famous 'winged' hussars) under Hetman (commander) Stanisław Żˇłkiewski defeated a numerically superior force of about 35,000 Russians (including about 5,000 mercenaries, mostly Swedish under the command of Jacob De la Gardie, with some regiments composed of French, German and British).

The Muscovite army under Prince Dymitry Shuyski was heading towards the besieged fortress of Smolensk, but was intercepted by Polish forces. The Poles attempted to attack soon after dawn, but lost the element of surprise. As a result the opening stages of the battle were extremely hard fought all along the line. Mainly this was because the battlefield was crossed by a high fence which allowed the Polish hussars to charge only through a narrow gap. When rumours began to spread that the Russian's foreign mercenaries were deserting to the Poles, Russian morale cracked and the native Russian element of the army began to flee. In fact many of the foreign troops continued to put up strong resistance for several hours. The Poles continued to make ferocious attacks, and a witness from one hussar company claimed that his unit charged 8 or 10 times. A large section of the foreign troops managed to retreat under the protection of their long infantry pikes in good order to the safety of their fortified camp. Seeing that they had been deserted by their Russian masters, they entered peace talks and finally surrendered to the Poles.

Due partly to poor command and even worse coordination of the Russian forces the Poles were able to achieve the complete defeat of the Muscovite army. Soon after the battle the Russian fortress of Smolensk surrendered, Shuyski was ousted by the boyars and Żˇłkiewski entered Moscow with little opposition.

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