Siege of Velikiye Luki

The siege of Velikiye Luki was one of the battles of Livonian campaign of Stephen Báthory. It took place between 1 and 5 September 1580, and ended in Polish-Lithuanian victory. Forces of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth captured the Russian fortress of Velikiye Luki.

Siege of Velikiye Luki
Part of the Livonian War

Francesco Corsi: Stephan Bathory sieging Wielkie Luki (1831)
Date1–5 September 1580
Location56°20′31″N 30°30′25″E / 56.34194°N 30.50694°E / 56.34194; 30.50694
Result Polish-Lithuanian victory
Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth
Principality of Transylvania and foreign mercenaries
Tsardom of Russia
Commanders and leaders
King Stephen Báthory Ivan Vasiliyevich Voyeykov
~50,000 ~6,000 or 7,000

On 18 July 1580, King Stefan Batory called a council of his hetman, during which two plans were designed - either to march towards Pskov, or to attack Smolensk. After a discussion, a compromise was achieved, in which capture of Russian-held Velikiye Luki was designed. After the siege, Polish-Lithuanian forces were to march towards Pskov, to cut links between Livonia and Russia.

The fortress of Velikiye Luki, located by the Lovat River, was made of wood and earth. Next to it, a wooden town stood, which was burned by the Commonwealth forces so as it would not give cover to the defenders. The siege began on September 1 with an artillery barrage and infantry attack. Velikiye Luki was set in flames, and the still burning fortress surrendered on September 5. Hungarian mercenaries, who were first to enter it, began widespread looting, not paying attention to the fire, which in the meantime reached the gunpowder magazine. The magazine exploded, killing app. 200 Poles and Hungarians, together with defenders of the fortress.

See also



  • J. Natanson-Leski, Epoka Stefana Batorego w dziejach granicy wschodniej Rzeczypospolitej, Warszawa 1930, s. 64.