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Battle of Kosovo Field or "Field of Blackbirds"

  • Broadcast in Politics Conservative
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Kosovo Field is a fairly flat plain between the Lab and Sitnica Rivers in southern Serbia several miles northwest of the town of Pristina (although the recently-declared "Republic of Kosovo" refuses to recognize Serbian rule). Bordered on both sides by mountain ranges, the plain was one of the main crossroads of the Balkans since ancient times, giving many an invading army north-south access to the peninsula.

The size and composition of the two armies is doubtful. The best estimates by modern historians put the Serbian coalition army at about 25,000 men, with the Turkish force comprising nearly 40,000. Both armies formed into the traditional right wing, center, and left wing, with each division comprising two distinct lines.

The Serbian right, commanded by provincial lord Vuk Brankovic, totaled around 5000 men. The front line was made up of the "mala vlastela." These were the Serbian minor nobility who were basically similar to the Turkish akincis, who were mounted horse archers wearing lamellar armor (small hardened leather pieces or metal plates held together with leather ties). The second line was infantrymen, using spears, axes, javelins, and bows (possibly also crossbows).

Prince Lazar commanded the Serbian center, which likely mustered 15,000 men altogether. The front line was composed of "veliki vlastela," greater nobles wearing lamellar armor and armed mainly with lances, maces and bows. The second line comprised more Serbian foot soldiers. Due to the size of the center, its formation was much wider than the two wings.