Siege of Pskov

Siege of Pskov

Infobox Military Conflict
conflict=Siege of Pskov

caption=A Siege of Pskov, an etching by Boris Chorikov for "Picturesque Karamzin, the Russian history in pictures" published in 1836.
partof=Livonian War
date=September 8, 1581 - February 8, 1582
place=Pskov, Russia
result=Peace of Jam Zapolski
combatant2=Tsardom of Russia
commander1=King Stefan Batory
Jan Zamoyski
commander2=Prince Ivan Shuisky
Prince Vasili Skopin-Shuisky
strength1=31 000
strength2=16 000|

The Siege of Pskov, known as the Pskov Defense in Russia ("оборона Пскова" in Russian) took place between August of 1581 and February of 1582, when the army of the Polish king Stefan Batory laid an unsuccessful siege and successful blockade to the city of Pskov during the final stage of the Livonian War of 1558-1583.

The first detachments of the Polish-Lithuanian army, which in the past two years captured Polock (1579) and Velikiye Luki (1580) appeared at the walls of Pskov on August 18, 1581. This action completely cut off Russian forces from territory of Livonia. The main forces of the invaders (31,000 men [] ) laid siege to the city on August 24-26. Prince Vasili Skopin-Shuisky was nominally in charge of the defense of Pskov, but Prince Ivan Shuisky was the one to actually implement it. The latter had up to 4,000 dvoryane, streltsy, and Cossacks and some 12,000 armed citizens of Pskov and its surroundings at his disposal.

After a two-day shelling of Pskov, the Polish army attacked the city for the first time on September 8. The Russians repelled the assault, which resulted in heavy losses for the Poles. Attempts to blow up the fortifications with mines and a general attack on November 2 turned out to be fruitless, as well. In November, some of Polish forces attacked the Pskovo-Pechorsky Monastery, but to no avail.

King Stefan Batory then ordered a passive siege, and the battle became a blockade. On December 1 the King left the siege together with most of the Lithuanian Army, volunteers and German mercenaries. The command over the remaining forces was given to Zamoyski. At the same time, during all the siege in 1581, Polish cavalry raids devastated many regions of Russia, reaching Volga and Ladoga Lake. The regular cavalry was the best part of invaders forces. During the harsh winter of 1581-2 the rest of the besieging army would have mutinied but for the iron will of the Chancellor Jan Zamojski. The Chancellor held the blockade, although the Russian partisans had been active in the Pskov area, attacking enemy foragers and communications.

The Pskovian garrison undertook frequent sallies (approximately 46 [] ), mostly in November and December of 1581. There were 31 attacks by Polish troops during the five month siege [] . The siege dragged on, with neither side able to end it; in the meantime diplomatic negotiations, in which Vatican became involved, led to the end of hostilities.

Stefan Batory and Ivan IV finally signed the Treaty of Jam Zapolski on January 15; Russia renounced its claims to Livonia and Polotsk and in exchange the Commonwealth returned Russian territories its armies had captured. On February 4 of 1582, the last detachments of the Polish-Lithuanian army left the outskirts of Pskov.

ee also

*Muscovite-Lithuanian Wars


*The battle in the larger picture is described on the following pages: [ 1577-1582 War with Muscovy] , [ THE STRUGGLE FOR THE DOMINIUM MAR1S BALTICI]
*Jasienica, Paweł "Rzeczpospolita Obojga Narodów. Srebrny wiek" ISBN 83-07-02520-6

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