Day of Belarusian Military Glory

Battle of Orsha (painting)On September 8, many Belarusians celebrate a day of military glory. Five hundred years ago, the famous Battle of Orsha took place in the Krapivenskoye field, which is situated not far from Orsha, Vitebsk region, Belarus.

On this day in 1514, a 30–thousand army of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania allied with the Kingdom of Poland and headed by Konstantin Ostrozhsky, Grand Hetman of Lithuania, defeated a 80–thousand army of the Grand Duchy of Moscow. The battle occurred during the fourth Muscovite–Lithuanian War of 1512–1522. This victory enabled the Grand Duchy of Lithuania to receive back its towns of Krichev, Mstislavl, and Dubrovno (present–day Belarus) occupied by the army of Vasili III, the Grand Duke of Moscow. The only previously captured stronghold that Ostrozhsky was not able to retake was Smolensk. The present–day boundary between Russia and Belarus was actually defined by this battle.

The battle of Orsha became the largest in the history of Belarusian military glory. It was described in the European anthology of military history as an example of successful tactics to combat the enemy forces that are vastly superior.

The victory of Orsha gave the Grand Duchy a timeout and the advancement of Russians was stopped for four years. In addition, a broad coalition that comprised the German empire, the Teutonic Order, the Crimean Tatars, and the Moscow principality was destroyed.

In 2014, to commemorate the day of this glorious victory of their ancestors, Belarusians erected stone monuments on the field where the battle was held. The stones feature  the engravings depicting the heroes of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.

See the video of the present–day Krapivenskoye field, Orsha, Vitebsk region, Belarus:

In addition, an epic board game named 1514 was released to mark the 500th anniversary of the battle. Read more here (Belarusian only)