Battle of Voronezh River
Part of Mongol Invasion of Rus'
Rejection Tatars Peace.jpeg
Date Voronezh River
Location December 1237
52°50′02″N 40°24′34″E / 52.83389, 40.40944
Result Mongol victory; Ryazan besieged afterwards
Mongol Empire Principality of Ryazan
Commanders and leaders
Batu Khan
Yuri Igorevich
Romen Ingvarevich
Several tumen of nomad cavalry A few hundred cavalry and no more than 1000–2000 militia on foot
Casualties and losses
Light Heavy, but some units escaped to Kolomna

During the Mongol Invasion of Rus, the Principality of Ryazan was the first to be attacked.

Opposing Forces[]

Main articles: Mongol military tactics and organization and Medieval Russian army

Size and composition of both armies can be roughly estimated based on contemporary chronicles.[1][2] Contemporary Mongol sources describe Batu as invading with 12-14 tumens, which would give him a nominal strength of 120.000-140.000 men, mostly nomad cavalry archers[3]. However, tumens were often at less than full strength, some elite units with as few as 1.000 horsemen.[1]

On the Russian side, contemporary sources mention only five Princes by name[2], each of whom would be accompanied by his Druzhina, a small retinue of heavy cavalry[4]. The princely retinue surpassed the Mongolian army in armament, both offensive and defensive. Massively heavy armor was used. However, these squads, as a rule, did not exceed the number of several hundred men, and were unsuitable for united actions under a single command[5].

At the same time, the main part of the Old Russian army was the militia infantry. It was inferior to the nomads in armament and the ability to own it. The militia used axes and hunting spears ("rogatina"). Swords were rarely used, and they had no armor other than plain clothes and fur hats[4].

For the infantry, consisting of poorly armed peasants and tradesmen, numbers are uncertain. The only specific numbers mentioned for the Russians are 1700 men of Evpaty Kolovrat[6](The Tale of the Destruction of Ryazan) and 3.000 men under Voivode Dorozh[2](Battle of the Sit River (1238)). However, these were exceptionally large numbers for Russian standards at the time. In 1242, Prince Aleksandr Nevsky in Veliky Novgorod could muster no more than 1.000 Druzhina and 2.000 militia for the Battle on the Ice. [7]So, it is safe to estimate that, on average, a Russian Prince had hundreds of warriors in his retinue, rather than thousands.


After receiving envoys of Batu Khan and sending them to their overlord, Yuri II of Vladimir[6], and the princes of the border princepalities of Ryazan, Murom and Pronsk gathered their forces and made a stand on the Voronezh River, waiting for reinforcements from Vladimir[2]. They received none, and their small force was quickly scattered.


After the battle, prince Yuri Igorevich] retreated to Ryazan, while his nephew prince Roman Ingvarevich took some of his men north to Kolomna and joined the army of Vladimir.[2]


  1. ^ a b ад-Дин, Рашид (1952). Сборник летописей / Пер. с персидского О. И. Смирновой,редакция проф. А. А. Семенова. Издательство Академии Наук СССР. pp. Т. 1, кн. 2. — С. 71.. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Новгородская летопись". 
  3. ^ 1898-1965,, Nasonov, A. N. (Arseniĭ Nikolaevich),; 1898-1965., Насонов, А. Н. (Арсений Николаевич),. "Russkai︠a︡ zemli︠a︡" i obrazovanie territorii drevnerusskogo gosudarstva : istoriko-geograficheskoe issledovanie ; Mongoly i Rusʹ : istorii︠a︡ tatarskoĭ politiki na Rusi (Izdanie vtoroe, stereotipnoe ed.). Sankt-Peterburg. ISBN 5020269352. OCLC 913580743. 
  4. ^ a b Borisovich), Shirokorad, A. B. (Aleksandr; Борисович), Широкорад, А. Б. (Александр (2004). Rusʹ i Orda. Moskva: Veche. ISBN 5953302746. OCLC 56858783. 
  5. ^ Grigorʹevič., Hrustalev, Denis (2017). Rusʹ i mongolʹskoe našestvie : 20--50-e gg. XIII v.. Sankt-Peterburg: Evraziâ. ISBN 9785918521427. OCLC 1003145949. 
  6. ^ a b "Никифоровская летопись. Никифорівський літопис. Том 35. Литовсько-білоруські літописи". 
  7. ^ 1944-, Nicolle, David, (1996). Lake Peipus 1242 : battle of the ice. London: Osprey Military. ISBN 9781855325531. OCLC 38550301.