After the Fall of the City in 1453, Mohammed II continued his expansionist policy. In 1460 the Turkish sultan sent an embassy to the Vlach ruler Vlad Dracul, demanding the payment of a servitude tax owed since 1459. In response, Vlad killed the Turkish envoys. The sultan demanded 10,000 coins and 1,000 boys to be included in the janissary corps. In response to Vlad's refusal Turkish forces invaded Wallachia but were attacked by Vlad and those captured were flogged.
Muhammad sent Hamza Pasha with 1,000 picked men with orders, supposedly, to negotiate with Vlad. Actually his purpose was to arrest him. Vlad realized the trap and attacked and destroyed the Turkish detachment. Then he looted that Turkish reaching Bulgaria. He himself reported that he had exterminated 23,000 Turks by beating them. Upon learning of the events, Muhammad was enraged. Unable to move himself, he sent the grand vizier Mahmud against Vlad, at the head of 18,000 men. But this force was defeated by the indefatigable Vlach leader. At least 10,000 Turks were exterminated.
Muhammad is campaigning
After this Muhammad had no choice but to personally campaign against Vlad. In the spring of 1462 Muhammad set out from Constantinople at the head of a huge army of 150,000 men. The historian Laonikos Chalkokondylis raises the Turkish strength to 250,000 men, while Turkish sources speak of 300,000 men. Other sources raise the number of Muhammad's men even higher. The Turkish army consisted of the elite janissaries, the brave knights, irregular infantry and horsemen (Azap and Akinci). Along with the Sultan, Vlad's half-brother Prince Radu was campaigning, leading 4,000 horsemen. The Turks also had 120 guns.
In view of such a large-scale invasion, Vlad managed to gather around 30,000 warriors , most of whom were lightly armed peasants. Vlad reportedly asked that only those who did not think of death follow him. The only really combat-worthy part of his army was his personal guard composed of mercenaries, mainly, but also gypsies. He also had some heavy cavalry of the noble boyars and several light cavalry.
Course to conflict
In early June the Turks attempted to cross the Danube at Vidin (Vidin) in present-day Bulgaria, but failed. On June 4, however, a section of janissaries crossed the river at Turnus Severin, despite the heavy losses they suffered. After that Vlad decided to retreat following the scorched earth tactic so as not to leave anything useful to the Turks. At the same time his men set traps, poisoned the water in wells and attacked individual Turkish detachments with particular ferocity. Vlad even used his subjects suffering from incurable diseases – leprosy, tuberculosis, plague – in the Turkish camps, in an early form of biological warfare! Muhammad nevertheless continued his advance towards Targoviste, although he failed to capture Bucharest.
The Turkish army was encamped south of Targoviste. Vlad, knowing the Turkish language perfectly, could, according to Halkokondylis, secretly enter the Turkish camp forming a personal perception of the enemy. So he decided to carry out a night attack against the Turks. The numerical superiority of the latter was so overwhelming that only a bold plan had any hope of giving victory to Vlad. So his decision is completely justified. On the night of June 16-17 the Vlach leader at the head of 7,000-24,000 men (depending on the source) attacked the Turkish camp, three hours after sunset, according to the Italian Chronicle.
Vlad's men, carrying torches, banging on their shields and shouting war cries, charged against the sleeping Turks. It is worth mentioning that Muhammad had forbidden his men, except for purposes, to leave their tents at night. So the Turks were caught, literally sleeping. A savage massacre followed. Vlad headed for Muhammad's tent, but made a mistake and ran into the tents of the two grand viziers Isak and Mahmut Pasha. However Vlad's victory was not complete as a boyar, Galles, hesitated to attack the Turks as ordered.
In the morning the picture of destruction was evident. Muhammad nevertheless attempted to advance again but found himself before a "forest" of 20,000 of his beaten men ! This sight destroyed the morale of himself and his men. Retreating, the Turks set fire to and razed the city of Braila. Night battle casualties vary, depending on the source. The Turks lost at least 15,000 men. Vlad's losses range between 1,000 and 5,000 men.
The Vlach ruler Vlad the so-called "Paloukotis".