Battle of Grobnik Field

Battle of Grobnik field
Part of Mongol invasion of Europe
Mongol soldiers by Rashid al-Din 1305.JPG
Mongolian archers
Grobnik field
ResultDecisive Croatian victory
Golden HordeCroatia in personal union with Hungary
Commanders and leaders
Batu KhanUnknown
Casualties and losses

The Battle of Grobnik field (Croatian: Bitka na Grobničkom polju) is a legendary battle that supposedly occurred in 1242 between the Croats and the Mongols of the Golden Horde in the area below the Grobnik Castle in the present-day Čavle municipality in Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, western Croatia. The legend was recorded as late as the 16th century and was later a focus of an early romantic poem The Grobnik Field written in 1842 by Dimitrija Demeter for the 600th anniversary of the battle. Legend has it that, in a last-ditch struggle, Croats from all over the region gathered at the field and killed thousands of Mongols, who withdrew, never to return.

The Mongols (also called "Tatars") began attacking Europe in the 1220s. They conquered most of Russia and then headed west in the late 1230s. In almost every battle the Christian armies were destroyed and much of Hungary, Poland and the Balkans were laid to waste by Batu Khan, grandson of Genghis Khan. It is known that the Mongols overran Zagreb and swept through Lika and Dalmatia, but were unable to take Vinodol. The extent of death and destruction dealt out by the Mongols was compared to an epidemic of the black plague.[citation needed]

Arriving at the Grobnik field, the Mongols encountered a native Croatian army that tried to stop their advantage and invasion. In the battle that followed, the Mongols were destroyed, losing an entire army of 30,000[citation needed] people led by the notorious army leader Batu Khan. It is said that Grobnik ("field of graves") got its name from the many graves that were built after the battle due to great casualties. It was one of the last battles of the Mongols in Europe, after which they retreated to their homeland in far Asia.

Legend also has it that the Croats also fought off a Turkish invasion at Grobnik field several centuries later by wearing the heads of cows and other animals (see zvončari), scaring the enemy.