20

In the fantasy fiction A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of thrones, during Robert's Rebellion, three battles were fought in the same day, in the same place. There where particular conditions that lead to this event: Robert Baratheon knew that his enemies would gather in particular place, so he decided to arrive first, and fight each army individually. The goal was not to destroy enemy's army, and as the opposite lords where quickly captured, the rout part could last less.

I wonder if it's historically accurate, as it seems a lot in one day, as I imagine that one battle would have lasted several hours, but I could be wrong.

Has any medieval army ever fought 3 or more distinct battles on the same day?

  • 3
    Robert was fighting against minor lordlings who were unaware of the trap and were just mobilizing to unite their forces, their levies would number no more than a couple hundreds each. A couple hundred unwary men are easy to defeat in an hour or so. We also do not know if Robert had been able to summon a larger/better force before the battle. There is Battle of Alma from IRL but it's from the 19th century, not medieval times. Would be interesting to see if such a precedent exists in middle ages. – NSNoob Feb 1 '18 at 10:29
  • @NSNoob As they where gathering to confront Robert, I suppose that they where not that outnumbered, at least if the fough as a grouo and not individually. However, I agree that individually they where outnumbered, so it could be between batlle and skirmish – Kepotx Feb 1 '18 at 10:43
  • 4
    I don't have time to write a detailed answer just now, but the Battle of Grunwald might meet the criteria, as it seems to have been fought in three distinct stages. – Pieter Geerkens Feb 1 '18 at 10:58
  • 1
    Google the term "interior lines" and you'll find a number of examples of commanders using agility to defeat size, but which usually results in multiple battles fought in not very distant locations. – Paul Feb 1 '18 at 16:42
  • 3
    @NeMo Did you just downvote because my question is somehow fantasy-related? The question spring in my mind while (re)reading ASOIAF, but I ask for real example so I don't see why it's off-topic... – Kepotx Feb 1 '18 at 23:35
38

Battle of Mohi might be what you are looking for. It's not a perfect fit but that's the closest I could find.

It was fought on 11th April 1241 between Kingdom of Hungary and Golden Horde. The Battle itself was in fact three sub-battles packed into one, all fought in one day.

Fight at the Sajó bridge - Midnight

Duke Coloman of Slavonia, brother to King Bela IV of Hungary, reached the Sajó bridge to defend it against a possible Mongol attack at midnight as per the intel provided by an escaped Ruthenian slave.

When they reached the river, they found the Mongol vanguard tasked by Batu Khan to capture the bridge and secure the crossing for their main force. The Hungarians caught the Mongols mid-crossing and the battle started. Mongols were caught unaware and their famous horse archers were crippled given the dark and the fact that they were trapped on a narrow bridge, negating their advantage in mobility. The entire vanguard was destroyed and The Hungarians returned to their camp at 0200 HRS after leaving a small detachment to guard the bridge, implying that the fight must have lasted only for half an hour given that The Hungarians were back at their camp within two Hours. Take the time needed to ride back to the camp and to deploy a guard detachment and 30 mins seems like more than reasonable estimate for the duration of battle.

In case you're wondering why would the Duke leave the bridge so weakly held, see my question here.

Main Battle - Morning

At 0400 HRS, Batu Khan attacked The Hungarians at bridge and forced them to retreat. Mongols had now secured their crossing. Retreating Hungarians reached their camp while the Mongols finished the crossing at 0800 HRS.

The survivors from the bridge woke the sleepers at the camp and The Hungarians prepared to meet the Mongols.

The Hungarians outnumbered the Mongols but Subutai was not in the field yet. The Mongols were sore beset within two hours of fighting and as The Hungarians were preparing for another charge to force the Mongols to withdraw, Subutai appeared with his men and attacked The Hungarian rear flank. The Hungarians panicked, sensing that Subutai could encircle them and fled to their fortified encampment. Batu wanted to withdraw for the day given the heavy losses suffered by them but Subutai refused to listen to him and Batu grudgingly consented to resumption of the attack.

Siege of The Hungarian Camp - Afternoon

Situation within The Hungarian camp was becoming dire. The morale was low and they were confined to their camp with Mongols all around them. They tried to sally forth and open a safe passage in the siege lines but they failed everytime. Duke of Slavonia, King's brother, personally tried another sally but he too failed.

Mongols deliberately left a gap in their siege lines, to allow The Hungarians to flee as fleeing soldiers were easier to kill. Many Hungarian soldiers took advantage of the gap, unwary of the trap and were slaughtered down to the last man.

King Bela soon fled with his brother as well but the Duke took so grievous injuries that he died soon after. The battle was over and The Hungarian force was virtually wiped out.

Conclusion

  1. Three "fights" were fought in the battle on the same day.
  2. The results were mixed. The Hungarians won the first one but Mongols won the other two. Overall, it was a decisive Mongol victory.
  3. The fights were between the same two belligerents, not four different belligerents as with Robert Baratheon.
  4. There were no three distinct battles but that is the case with Summerhall as well, three fights of the same battle were fought there.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.